Diomysus Image


By Michael Talbot-Haynes | August 5, 2023

PORTLAND FESTIVAL OF CINEMA, ANIMATION & TECHNOLOGY 2023 REVIEW! Puppet mice get squeaky about being freaky in Diomysus, the comedic documentary short by director and puppeteer Emily Morus-Jones. The filmmaker uses mouse puppets to voice dialogue from interviews with real members of Britain’s polyamorous community. Speaking freely as their identities were hidden behind the puppets, the interviewees dispel myths about people who have relationships with more than one partner at a time. They clear up that while they have multiple lovers, they are not down to sleep with just anybody anytime.

Those interviewed also discuss the condemnation they face. However, one feels Generation Z will understand and embrace the polyamorous lifestyle as they are able to see through the previous generation’s hang-ups over it. Many blame infidelity on the institution of monogamy, while you can’t cheat if you are polyamorous. There is an acknowledgment of emotional responses to seeing your partner with others, followed by statements about differentiating jealousy from envy. All the while being spoken by these cute little mousies. Ruby Rare contributes some funny vocals as well.

“…uses mouse puppets to voice…interviews with real members of Britain’s polyamorous community.”

Morus-Jones’ puppet method of tackling a controversial subject is brilliant. Knowing that many will disagree with the stance of those she’s interviewing, myself included, the use of those nifty puppets to deliver such a message diffuses many roadblock judgments. It’s easy to judge a person but much harder to judge a mouse puppet. The audience is able to hear their perspective a lot more clearly, with humor lifting the mood. The arguments presented are concise, pertinent, and without overlap. Diomysus is a triumph of a documentary short, as the amount of information delivered in such a palatable and laser-focused way is impressive. While I still think some of the points are full of mouse turds, I enjoyed how they were able to have their say.

As successful as Diomysus is as a documentary, we really need to spotlight the stupendous puppetry on display. I loved how the mice are shot from angles usually reserved for human actors. The puppets themselves are very enticing and cute as buttons. Seeming them used in this way summons that same sweet and sour juxtaposition that Peter Jackson hit with Meet The Feebles. It is interesting to track the evolution of controversial puppet shows from that classic to this. While Jackson’s use of puppets amplified the offensiveness, these brave little mouse puppets managed to extinguish it. Morus-Jones shows how it takes only a handful of mice to stand up to the giant elephant of monogamy.

Diomysus screened at the 2023 Slamdance Film Festival and the 2023 Portland Festival of Cinema, Animation & Technology.

Diomysus (2023)

Directed and Written: Emily Morus-Jones

Starring: Ruby Rare, etc.

Movie score: 9/10

Diomysus Image

"…puppet method of tackling a controversial subject is brilliant."

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