The Tale of The Heroine & The Cad (2012) – By Duane L. Martin

In any fantasy setting, elves are an incredibly long lived race, typically living for thousands of years, and in some cases they’re even immortal. In this new short film from Claire Wasmund, that presents a particular problem for an elf named Himo who had the unfortunate luck to fall in love with, and to marry a half-elf named Tallulah. Why was that unfortunate? Well for two reasons. First, because she was a hero to the elves all of her life. She fought dragons, saved maidens, outwitted bandits and assassins, etc…, leaving Himo to live in the shadow of her fame. Second, because the life span of a half-elf, at least in this story, is only around 250 years, which means that Himo has stayed as youthful as ever, while she’s aged and has been close to death for a very long time, but is still hanging on. Himo would like nothing more than for her to die, or to at least give him a divorce so he can move on with his life, but she refuses to do either. So what’s the final result? You’ll have to see it to find out.

When I was asked to review this film, I was happy to do so. Not so much because I had reviewed Claire’s previous film, but because it was a fantasy film, and that’s something that’s far too rare in the indie world. I would absolutely love to see more independent fantasy films being made.

So how was it? Well…

Visually this movie is superb. It’s colorful, brilliantly shot, nicely edited and has some really great looking visual effects, such as a bee flying and seeing the world through its eyes. The costuming and set design were excellent as well. The outfits really suited the characters and the whole tone of the story, and the set design really takes you to a different place, as does the music, which was perfectly suited to the story.

The story of the film is quite good, and can also be considered reflective of any modern, real-world May-December romance where one partner gets old way ahead of the other, and yet they’re tied together by marriage while the older one slowly dies. I think it’s really a misnomer to call Himo a "cad" in this film. While they genuinely started out in love, he spent countless years living in her shadow, which she seemed to have no regard for at all. She was so focused on her own fame that she just didn’t seem to notice or care that he was constantly pushed into the background. So between that and the fact that she’s old and he’s not and he wants to move on with his life and find romance again, and the fact that she won’t give him the divorce he wants, I can totally understand why he’d come off seeming like a cad in his attitude toward her.

Technically, as I said, this film is incredibly well made and very enjoyable, but there were two technical issues that I should mention. Unfortunately I can only mention one without giving the ending away. The one I can mention is the narration at the beginning of the film. It wasn’t mixed in or EQ’d well and sort of gets walked on by the music and other sounds. You can hear it ok if you really focus on what he’s saying, but I would strongly suggest a re-mix on that one particular item.

Kudos to Claire and crew for putting out film in a genre that’s sorely under represented in the indie world today, and that has a story that could easily carry over into a real life setting, while not making it feel like it was out of place in its own time and setting. I would love to see more films like this out there, and this one is definitely worth checking out if you get the chance.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its Facebook page here. The film is currently doing the rounds at various film festivals, and has had some interest from fantasy conventions as well.