It can't be easy to create a believable long term relationship on screen, one steeped in equal measures truth, humour and pathos, all in under fifteen minutes. Yet that's exactly what director Maria De Sanctis, screenwriter (and frequent collaborator) Devon Bain and a talented cast of up and comers does in the charming short, Cupid, which I recently had the pleasure of taking in as a part of the Future of Film Showcase.
Zack "Cupid" Heart (Greg Hovanessian) is a demigod with a problem. How does he tell his mother (Debra Tosca) that he's in love with a human woman named Padideh (Samantha Spatari)? Zack suffers from an inability to grow into a man (perhaps because he isn't one) which ultimately leads to the demise of their relationship. Set over the course of four successive Valentine's Day celebrations, the film explores an atypically unhappy ending for such a sweet natured romantic comedy, which makes Cupid all the more refreshing.
What I loved more than anything else about Cupid however, was the way it touches, rather deftly, on the topic of interracial/cross cultural dating. Granted, the film is about a demigod and a human, but it's really no different than those who come from differing cultural, racial or religious backgrounds. Like most everything else in Cupid, the film offers a refreshing take on an age old issue. The fact that it manages to handle this all in only fifteen minutes only makes it all the more impressive
Wonderful performances abound throughout - particularly from Greg Hovanessian who imbues his Cupid with an innocence you can't help but fall for and a sadness you can't help but feel permeating throughout. Samantha Spatari gives a stellar turn as Padideh, the woman who, over a four year span, goes from eccentric (in all the right ways) to a button downed professional looking more for stability than simply a fun time. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the other two characters, both used sparingly but to marvelous comedic effect -- Debra Tosca as the typically overbearing mother figure, who proves that even gods and demigods alike aren't immune to the trials of a mother on a guilt trip. Finally, Bo Jeffrey (in a mostly silent role) managed to snag one of the best laughs from his performance of Chad, the typical bro who has notes of Brad Pitt's character (of the same name) in the Coen's Burn After Reading.
This was the first film I've had the pleasure of seeing from director Maria De Sanctis yet, seeing how deftly she and her cast and crew handled this short tale of love gone wrong, I'm looking forward to seeing what the director has in store on future projects.
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