Directed by: #AndrewMcGee
As part of Lonely Wolf: London International Film Festival 2021
An insurgent mother uploads the consciousness of her tragically killed daughter, Iris, into a stolen synthetic body. Torn out of her idyllic digital world and left on the run in an oppressive futuristic city, Iris must confront her body's objectification and its violent capabilities, as well as the consequences of her mother's actions.
This beautiful looking cyberpunk short, bursting onto screen from director Andrew McGee, is a tale of loss and grief. Presenting itself as a short film but laying the groundwork for a very strong potential as a feature-length; Venus sets its sights on familiar territory within a brightly lit futuristic city, but explores deeper into its own little dark corner, based on a concept by Ben Sunnucks.
With an eerie atmosphere similar to that of the one in Ex Machina, McGee’s expertly crafted short pumps itself with plenty of luscious feeling and beauty. The story treads along with quick pacing and what we see feels like only a small chunk of the bigger story for Iris (played by Margaret Clunie). Venus opens up many possibilities for its feature counterpart, should such a thing come to fruition, whilst maintaining enough content for itself as a satisfying piece of short-form media. With visual nods to classic sci-fi — such as the shattering, glittery glass among the neon lights, similar to that in Blade Runner — and a punchy electronic score by Tracie Turnbull, this has all the ingredients of a cult classic science fiction triumph.
The stunning camerawork by Miguel Cármenes makes everything attractive and appealing to the eye, as one should when working on something cyberpunk… I mean, that’s a key aspect to conquer in my opinion. If the story is engrossing, that’s great, but if the visuals can accentuate that greatness, you’re winning. Venus looks the part, sounds the part, and FEELS the part. Straying from speaking too much on the plot, since the synopsis does it well enough, I will declare that this is one of the most interesting and exciting short films I’ve seen so far this year, and I will be keeping an eye on the development of this project.
There’s a great sense of inspiration for world-building and exploration in Venus, and McGee’s vision alongside his writers (Tara Shehata & Sunnucks) seems powerful and strong. As stated on the official website, they embrace themes of identity, gender and objectification and I’m sure a feature will give them plenty more room to play around and venture through ideas more broadly without constraint. Venus will spark a lot of anticipation and enthusiasm within the cyberpunk fan community.