"A thrilling enjoyable perspective on the mental world representation which defines our existence, Lance Larson discusses the superfluousness of the fake image over the reality that shapes each person’s identity. Designed as a macabre therapy session conducted by a modern psychopathic guru, this short-film is a metaphor of the restrictive human condition facing its most extreme fears. Just like Picasso’s manner to represent through art the perception of a dysfunctional world, the victim of this short-film (which embodies for 5 minutes every single viewer, due to the director’s choice to shoot the scenes using the 1st person) must overpass his delusory cognition, for the reason that he accedes a superior mental level.
Despites the lack of a narrative plot, “Cuckold Picasso” is a daring philosophical monologue discussing the redemption through violence, the superior understanding of life through a Purgatory painful experience. In fact, the physical pain described by Lance Larson is just a visual representation of the emotional disorders in this dark-poetical, cynical and yet motivational speech. The director transcends the metaphorical manner to depict the suffering of mental and spiritual elevation (the awakening of the third eye) in a more figurative, carnal way, suggesting also an ironical point of view to understand the spiritual literature. The last scene resembles to Darren Aronofsky’s one from “Pi”, where the main character also makes a hole is his had using a drill, in order to suggest the violent portrayal of changing the perspective on the world. Besides, the monologue written by James R. Adams II and performed on a grave hissing tonality increases spectator’s tension, while the bizarre look of Picasso’s “1971 Harlequin Head” covers the victim’s sight in strange hallucinatory erotic contrasts. Beyond all these elements, the contrasting musical choice of Strauss’ “The Blue Danube Waltz” turns Lance Larson’s short-film into a shivering and original cinematic experience." - Bucharest ShortCut Cinefest
"A man is help captive and severely beaten by his captor. What makes this short film different is that it’s shot in the victim’s point of view. The film shows what he sees, how he sees. It helps the viewer connect with the victim and feel for him, with him. Helping push this point across are the performances by Stephen P. Sweeney as the victim and Micah Fitzgerald as Artemis his captor and tormentor. The two of them play well against each other. Director/writer Lance Larson with writer James R. Adams II create a tight thriller that works well with a brutal subject. The cinematography by Brent Barbano and the editing by Lance Larson add claustrophobia and stress to the story creating a film that is effective and tense."
- Emilie Black, Cinema Crazed
"It was a genuine pleasure to present the film and just wax poetic about it, definitely one of the most intriguing works we've had at the festival! I Can't wait for the book."
- Enrrico Wood, Oaxaca
"Cuckold Picasso, Experimental– Picasso is shot in first person forcing viewers to search their own souls. Although grizzly, the filmmaker intends the action and title to be strong metaphors to face our fears and free ourselves to embrace life lessons. Impactful, chilling, disturbing and thought provoking with artful direction and acting. A spine tingling performance from Micah Fitzgerald (Westworld, Fear of the Walking Dead)." –- Reviewer, Best Shorts
"This is not a film, it's an experience!"
-- Laura Cain, JEFF AND THE SHOWGRAM KYXY 96.5 FM San Diego
"Dear James, Oaxaca FilmFest would like to thank you for entrusting us with your
work and we are honoured to present you with this review.
It is important to bring to your attention that this review does not constitute a critic of your
work, but is aiming to offer you an objective commentary that can help enhance your artistic
Following the review of your project, here are some points that deserve attention:
- A very impactful piece. Situating the camera from the first person perspective gives
the viewer a very sensory experience of the film. The sounds, the closeness of the
perpetrator’s face to the camera and the way in which the shots come in and out of
focus makes the viewing an acute experience.
- The speech serves both to characterise the torturer well, and is also thought provoking
as it asks that what is being said is considered by the viewer with respects to
- Technically, the film is of a high standard. The camerawork is inventive and effective
and the audio quality ensures the audience’s disturbing experience.
- The acting is convincing and therefore chilling.
These various elements constitute the strength of this project. Under no circumstances would
I change any of these.
Nonetheless, there are a few points that need to be addressed, that possibly should have been
- There is so much ambiguity in the film that is effective to an extent but certain
aspects, such as the relevance of Picasso, seem particularly unclear and do not add
much meaning to the film as a whole.
- The effect of the flames on the painting at the end is slightly unconvincing.
If I had one quote that would summarize the project, it would be this:
“A powerful, chilling jolt to the senses that forces the viewer into introspection”
I want to personally thank you again.
I hope this was helpful.
If you would like us to post this particular quote on IMDB, please contact me directly and I
will be happy to do so.
--Persis LOVE, Oaxaca Film Festival
"Cuckold Picasso (seriously, amazing title!) makes for an extremely impressive and darkly enjoyable short, full of wicked imagination, surprising horror, and some truly uncompromising/shocking moments" –- Reviewer, WILDsound Festival Competition
"The script makes for a really fantastic (and especially creepy) read, with some tremendous visuals and buckets of style and imagination.
The character of Artemis is fantastically creepy, with an immediately distinctive voice and just a ton of frantic energy that shines off the page, even given the script’s short runtime. He’s both fascinating and frightening all at the same time, and reminiscent of Sander Cohen’s character from the video game Bioshock (who had an equally large penchant for torture and self-expression). It’s just a shame then that the script is so short, as it would be brilliant to learn even more about him. Just what is his job? What lead our victim to be in his chair? What’s his relationship to them? Is he a former lover or another figure altogether? Has he always been insane?
The visual imagery presented is hugely evocative, there’s a strong balance between action and dialogue, and the juxtaposition of themes (such as release vs death, beauty vs fear, art vs chaos) are all impressively well handled. The contrast between light and dark colors is similarly another great addition, and would work wonderfully on screen to captivate audiences. Truly brilliant writing!
Ending with the drill coming towards us, and the sudden, almost even violent frame sutter/camera spin as it hits ‘our’ skull, is seriously, SERIOUSLY fantastic – and your whole command of sound during it (along with the subsequent ringing) is unbelievably haunting. It’s an inspired choice, and brilliantly handled again to feel uncompromisingly dark WITHOUT seeming forced. I honestly can’t praise it as an ending enough.
However, that said, we are left with some questions at the end of it (which I’m hesitant to outright say is a bad thing—as the ambiguity is great—but there is potential for further exploration and development). For instance, just who is the woman in the hallucinations? Is she supposed to be the partner of our character, or something more altogether? Perhaps a manifestation of the Harlequin in the painting? Or some kind of religious angel-like figure, leading us towards “the light”? Is she possibly even our subject character herself? The dialogue is all really, really strong, and perfectly captures the crazed and erratic nature of Artemis’ character." -– Reviewer, WILDsound Festival
"This is a brilliantly done short - you feel like you yourself are being tortured. I cringed more than once. I also appreciate that this is about more than just torture; it has something to say that is thoughtful and subtle. Highest marks for originality." -- Judge, One Reeler Short Film Competition
"Disturbing and incredibly effective. This could be a strong contender for best short film. Production, overall, is excellent." -- Judge, One Reeler Short Film Competition
"The cinematography here is incredibly effective. If there is another short that scores higher, I would like to see it. I think you have a winner." -- Judge, One Reeler Short Film Competition
"This is very effective editing. I would be curious to know what didn't make the cut. Running time is appropriate - not too long, not too short. Aided by highly effective editing, the films statement is successfully communicated. This is what good editing does." -- Judge, One Reeler Short Film Competition
"A serial killer's last moments with his most recent victim It was unique Micha Fitzgerald was riveting- I was both horrified and intrigued, and oddly, I wanted to trust him. The cinematography and editing were amazing. How they moved from torturer to victim to art pieces on the wall did a great job in keeping me with the action. I didn't have time to dwell on what happened but what was about to happen. The writing and dialog were great. I was uncertain as to the role of the woman in the Artemis scenes nor was it ever clear to me why it was called Cuckold (Picasso). I didn't see anything that lead me to think anyone had been unfaithful, and that did detract a bit from the submission It was very unique. I believe it would be well received by many people, even as violent as it seems. I think it would be discussed for some time after viewing by many people"
-- reviewer, DC SHORTS
"Shot point-of-view style. An unfortunate victim is forced to come to terms with his fears, forcing the audience to come to terms with our own fears. This film was extremely different from any film submission I've seen thus far. The acting was done very well and very believable. The main actor was an excellent choice. Without a typical plot and story line, the audience is forced to figure out what the film means to them personally. This is a great tool from an artists' point of view but the audience may get frustrated and the technique could backfire depending on the head space of the audience. I think the DC Shorts audience will be intrigued by this film and it will create a dialogue among the audience well after the festival."-- reviewer, DC SHORTS