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To Lucasta, Going to the Wars

Critic:

John McKeown

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Posted on:

12 Jul 2022

Film Reviews
To Lucasta,  Going to the Wars
Directed by:
Luis C. Taveras
Written by:
John McKeown
Starring:
Jose Enrique Moronta, Manuela Lopez Lantigna
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Set in the comfy suburbs of some Central or Latin American city, Luis C. Taveras’ short silently acted film could be a sneaker advert. If it weren’t for the black and white filter, or the gravelly thespian voice intoning the verses of Cavalier poet Richard Lovelace’s ‘To Lucasta, Going to the Wars’. Though having said that, these days even Cavalier Poets aren’t beneath the ‘creative departments’ of sneaker companies.

 

Comparing it to a sneaker ad isn’t to disparage it completely. It’s short and sweet, the sweetness fairly natural, and far from cloying; and though just brushing six minutes in length, it’s scenically varied enough, with a bit of tension and some evocative camera work from Arisbel Escolastico Jerez, to make it watchable. The two young actors successfully command attention, and let’s not forget that acting without words is far from easy.

 

Lovelace’s poem is a short paean to a mistress the narrator is leaving behind for another mistress, a far more exacting one: War. But he’s an honourable man, and it’s his dedication to Honour which makes him such a faithful lover, so his mistress shouldn’t begrudge him the opportunity to sow some wild oats in the local killing fields. Taveras’ boy (Jose Enrique Moronta) isn’t off to the wars, the only blood on his hands is red paint (figuratively speaking, due to that black and white filter) but he still faces a hard choice between pursuing his artistic muse or canoodling with a real flesh and blood one.

 

The choice is decided perhaps too quickly, even for a film as brief as this, and the rest of it shows the lovers playing cards, walking and talking earnestly in the dusk, and taking selfies (the only spots of colour). The artist’s lover (Manuela Lopez Lantigna) plays guitar and sings, though the lyrics are in Spanish, and it might’ve added interest to have the song subtitled or narrated (though not by that gravelly thespian).

About the Film Critic
John McKeown
John McKeown
Short Film