Roberto Pérez Toledo | Cupido in Love


cupid in love

by Douglas Messerli


Roberto Pérez Toledo (screenwriter and director) Cupido in Love / 2014 [4 minutes]


When I first encountered this short film on a Facebook connection, I thought for the first minute or two that it was a add (which, in a larger sense it is, given that it is part of a series of short films concerning love, El amor mola, funded by Spain’s El Corte Inglés department store. But I was intrigued by the beautiful boy playing cupid (Pelayo Rocal), got up in a slightly ridiculous if cute white diaper-like costume, sporting a blonde wig and a basket of arrows all in the service of attempting to sell one of the store’s newest perfumes, LovAmor.

     But of a sudden our cupid, Jesús spots a friend Marcos (Angel Velasco), a boy we soon discover he very much likes, coming his way, and attempts to hide—without success. They greet as he pulls off his wig, almost blushing in embarrassment. When asked what he’s doing, he answers “Shooting arrows” as he sprays some LovAmor in his friend’s face.

     “What is this?” Marcos continues, Jesús interrupting to answer “a job.” Acting jobs, he suggests are rare these days. Marcos has just finished his architectural studies. He’s designing, of all things, a funeral parlor.

      Marcos quickly changes the subject, suggesting that they never exchanged numbers. Of course, Jesús has no pen or paper, so that his friend has to write in on his arm (which seems to have become of tradition of the way eager young lovers exchange numbers in gay films).

      As Marcos holds Jesús’s hand for a moment to write his number down upon his arm, you can see the boys find one another quite attractive. And a moment later, Marcos says he’s curious about something: “What if Cupid falls in love with someone?” “No, no,” Jesús emphatically replies, “Cupid cannot fall in love.” “Why?” He stutters around for a bit before concluding, “Because it’d create an amorous-sentimental paradox with terrible universal consequences.”

     His friend laughs and is prepared to leave, wishing that he will shoot lots of arrows today. But he stops in his tracks and asks Jesús to “shoot him.” He takes out an arrow from his quiver and puts it into his bow, lobbing it clumsily towards his would-be lover, almost asking to fall in love with cupid himself. Marcos picks up the arrow, puts it to his own art, and signals that Jesús should call him, as the cupid smiles in delight, spraying a little of the perfume on himself as his friend walks off.

      Without beings assured of their meeting up, we are convinced they both intend to give it a serious try. This is a film that you can only describe as being dead-on “cute,” a word generally not in my regular vocabulary, having grown up a world where nearly everything pleasant is described in that manner.

      Interestingly, in retrospect, Wrik Mead in his 1998 short film Cupidanswered that very question about what would happen to the saint of love if he himself were to fall for someone else; in Mead’s answer his penis becomes so engorged and endlessly projected that it curls itself around his body, rendering him unconscious and immobilized by his own narcissistic love. Fortunately, Jesús is not a real cupid, any more than he is a real son of “god.........