Goddess [Tiara Luten, USA, 2018] /// Lovesick [Andrew Hamblin, UK, 2018]
Imagine a world where a patriarchal society ceases to exist – a world in which femininity and the role of womanhood itself excel as superior essences of existence; a world where women flourish, dominate and thrive at the expense of men that tailor to their every need; a world where women quite literally ‘run the world’. Independent African-American filmmaker Tiara Luten’s Goddess pays ode to womanhood in this short film, and embarks upon an exploration and celebration of themes centred on femininity.
The film opens with a powerful narrative, symbolic of strength, unity, homogeneity and sisterhood as Luten captivates the audience with attention-grabbing visuals of the mystical planet Xo, home to Yonetica, a land dominated by omnipotent female beings. The story tells the tale of two young women in a bid against each other to be crowned goddess of Yonetica in a fight that will prove their worthiness of the throne and in which one of them will face their inevitable fate – death.
The coming of age story follows the protagonist Adama (played by Embri Ocha, who gives a compelling onscreen performance) on a journey of self-discovery with the ultimate goal of attaining emotional and spiritual maturity. Luten endeavours to highlight the beauty of the divine feminine by utilising a spectrum of vibrant colours, layers and textures, which prove effective in conveying cultural connotations of godliness such as beauty, fertility and motherhood.
Although the plot takes place in a fictional, supernatural setting, this is not subtractive in portraying Adama’s journey into womanhood and, ultimately, becoming the ‘Goddess’ of the title. It is a story that will resonate with many, as we see the challenges that transpire in Adama’s quest to overcome adversity, subjectivity and prejudice. Luten, through her visionary portrayal of femininity, creates a convincing metaphorical tale of the everyday woman in contemporary society, whilst challenging ingrained stereotypes that women face to this day.
Goddess tackles prominent themes and exemplifies ideals of femininity in an innovative way. The final images of Adama being crowned on the throne profoundly depict a strong notion of female empowerment, encouraging the viewer to be open-minded and challenge societal values of womanhood, and to consider one’s own morality as a source of change in the pursuit for a fairer, equal world.
We have all experienced heartbreak at some point in our lives, whether it is the loss of a loved one, the ending of a friendship or the parting of ways with a former lover. It is an inevitable part of human life that we all go through, but this fact doesn’t make loss any easier to deal with. Andrew Hamblin’s Lovesick explores the themes of loss and restoration, life after what could be described figuratively as the internal death of the soul. The film portrays the process of the average person attempting to find purpose again in a fight to regain a new perspective on life.
The main plot involves a young man who is having difficulties recovering from a previous relationship with his long-term girlfriend. The main protagonist, Anderson (played by Hamblin) evokes feelings of loneliness and heartache in his portrayal onscreen. Although the reasons for the dissolution of the relationship are not known, it is clearly conveyed that Anderson has become isolated, heavily laden with burden and despair.
Anderson’s faith in love begins to be restored when he meets a lovely young lady in a local café whom he believes to be ‘the one’. After a promising first date in a local park, romance begins to blossom between the two, prompting a positive transformation in Anderson. But an unexpected plot twist occurs and things take a turn for the worse.
The simplistic nature of the storyline and production edifies the emotions Anderson displays in dealing with his despair and hope, enabling the audience to connect with and root for him as he searches for love again. Lovesick is arguably a film for ‘rom-com’ fans with many subtle, humorous moments played out before the audience onscreen.
However, if you are not one that particularly enjoys the typical ‘boy-meets-girl’ story this may not be the film for you. The storyline may not be the most original and to everyone’s tastes, but what is undeniable is its positive message of perseverance and hope.
'Goddess' and 'Lovesick' were film submissions in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2018.