Nina Conti: Her Master’s Voice

From Ellen Druda
Author: Nina Conti
Title: Nina Conti: Her Master’s Voice
This is a strange little film about an equally strange profession, ventriloquism. Nina Conti was a protégé and lover of British theater genius/eccentric Ken Campbell, who encouraged her interest and talent. We tag along on her trip to Kentucky and a ventriloquists convention, also the location of Vent Haven, the resting place for puppets of dead ventriloquists. Nina has a lot of soul searching conversations with her puppet Monkey, with who she shares her hotel bed, about the death of Campbell and the retirement of his favorite puppet and alter ego to Vent Haven. She also interviews some of her fellow performers at the convention about the art and technique of ventriloquism. Conti is a YouTube star and the reason is obvious after watching her amazing performances in this film. Beyond the predictable voice throwing gymnastics, she questions identity and ego and the blurry boundaries between them. VERDICT: This film confirms my long held belief regarding ventriloquists’ dummies — they are real!