This attention-grabbing nine-minute documentary opens with George King, founder of The Aetherius Society, preparing to communicate with a Venusian (that’s someone from the planet Venus, in case you were planning on Googling the term) by entering a trance. King claims that he first received a message from Aetherius, a spiritual being living on Venus, in 1954 and constructed his religious organization shortly after.
Over fifty years later, the group worships out of a small building in Hollywood and apparently doesn’t like to mention their alien origins to film crews. Unfortunately, director Christopher Rubino’s attempt to capture a day in the life of this sect fails to cover much more than their surface level beliefs. And while learning about spiritual healing and universal energies is interesting, it’s obvious that there’s much more to the Society than is covered here. Divided between displaying the church’s services, healing rituals, and business practices, the film is stretched too thin. It’s unquestionably captivating but it would have been well-served to provide some depth on any number of these subjects.
Mars and Venus would have thrived with a much longer running time. Nine minutes was not enough time to effectively give the organization’s history, establish their present-day role in society, and detail their beliefs and worship structure. This short film felt more like a trailer for a longer and more thorough project—a project that should be made either by Rubino (whose overall direction and editing decisions are solid here) or by someone else with an interest in this unique group and their path back to God.
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