It’s hard to imagine a film so cute you could hug it winning a live-action short Academy Award, but that’s exactly what Luke Matheny’s endearing take on the story of Cupid, “God of Love,” did by partnering nostalgic black and white cinematography with a playfully romantic but conniving hero.
Although Matheny is no stranger to winning awards, his previous film “Earano” won a few at various prestigious festivals, his Oscar winning short has been cleaning house in film festivals from New York to Hawaii. The film focuses on Raymond, a darts enthusiast/jazz singer afflicted with a seemingly incurable and unfortunately unrequited love for his band mate, Kelly. He prays for her love when a mysterious package of darts arrives for him at the bar where his band has a residency. The darts possess the power of making someone fall in love, after being stuck with one of course, with the next person they see. The film that follows is a quirky look at how love doesn’t make any sense but most importantly is selfless.
“I was also determined to critique the image of the lovestruck hero,” writes Matheny in a statement about the short on his personal website. He achieves this by presenting Raymond’s awakening from a self-interested lover to a dart flinging cupid. At first Raymond’s interest in love is depicted as shallow, with camera’s looming in the distance and Kelly’s character devoid of any personality; she is isn’t really there because Raymond doesn’t even know her. The black and white coloring of the film also works together with the jazzy soundtrack to highlight Raymond’s fictionalized romance for Kelly.
Raymond finds out abruptly however that love isn’t something that sticks like a dart if it doesn’t come from a place of honesty. Tricking someone can only work for so long before the emotion built up to that moment falls apart and the intentions come to light.
The film tells a well thought out story with humor and a sort of self-mocking goofy director who plays the main character. “I should have gotten a haircut,” said Matheny as he accepted his golden statue, but his personality both behind and in front of the camera come across so well through those curly locks of hair.