Directed by #TeemuNiukkanen
Written by #AnttiToivonen
Short Film Review by Jack Bottomley
Sometimes the best intentions lead to even greater calamity. We’ve all done it, know someone who has or if nothing else have witnessed it play out before our eyes (often at parties or family gatherings)). That person who stresses about something or tries to help, makes it worse and then things get either awkward or rather crazy. Such is the case in this superbly dark Finish comedy short from Fucking Bunnies director #TeemuNiukkanen, Are You Hungry? (Onko Sulla Nälkä?), which is a humorous, unusual and rather sweet #LGBT themed story about assumptions, perceptions, communication and parenting.
The story is actually rather simple, as a caring but concerned mother (#PirjoLonka) is increasingly struggling to communicate with her adopted asian son Tomi (#MatveiGerman). As she begins to think he is gay, she works out the best way she can help make things safe for him but soon her efforts seem like they could have taken a dark turn!
From the very first minute, this 12-minute short wastes no time in getting things underway and writer (and regular collaborator of Niukkanen) #AnttiToivonen gets right to the heart of the films timely and worthwhile themes. We all want the best for our family, to make it easier for them and we all are guilty of stressing about the smallest and biggest of things. This story sees a mother’s mind quite literally run wild and become centred on fears of online predators and her kid being preyed upon by bad people. But in trying her best to let him be who he is (or at least might be) in the safest way possible, things inevitably get a bit out of control, or do they? From imagination sequences of bare bottoms and some very well shot handmade sandwiches (now there’s a sentence I thought I’d never write), this film has a brilliant absurd edge to it and the script is both heartfelt, a little dark and quite unmistakably funny.
Pirjo Lonka as poor old mum is absolutely wonderful. She is very human, very commendable, very funny in her dedication to coming to the rescue and also rather shattering when she believes she has failed in her greatest duty. While a deadpan performance by Matvei German as her reserved lad, is likewise an excellent turn and perfect to help move the story where it needs to go.
No doubt some things are a tad odd and some may react a bit differently to this style than others. For instance, a scene inside a flat with a man played by #TommiKorpela, does perhaps push the limits of comfort but I was engaged constantly to see where Niukkanen took his story and was very pleased and entertained by the results. In fact there is even a sense of thrill, when the narrative throws a potentially sadistic detour our way and mum goes all Bryan Mills parent mode.
A phenomenal lead performance and supporting one, further brighten an already tight, relatable and wickedly fun short about some very important subjects. Are You Hungry? is well worth consuming!