Directed by: Gustavo Martin Starring: Fupa Short Film Review by: Chris Olson
Short comedy documentary Fupa sees a young girl called Cody coming to terms with her pet rat’s tumor and regrettably short life expectancy. As she tells the audience about Fupa (named as such because of her fat upper pubic area - because of where the tumor is located) and the myriad of ways she has explored to find a solution, the film takes on a tragic tone as the inevitable sets in.
Told with an atmosphere that is one part Juno mixed with two parts The Office, Gustavo Martin’s short film has an offbeat charm and honesty which makes the whole thing utterly endearing. Cody is a magnificent presence on screen with superb comedic timing. One particular highlight is where she describes looking into enlisting the assistance of student vets, so that even if things went south at least someone would be learning. And this is a typical example of the dialogue in the film which is a key ingredient in it's success.
Aesthetically, Fupa is a delight to behold. Martin utilises some brilliant shots to capture Cody's quirky nature whilst providing the viewer with a variety of action shots of Fupa running around the place. Even the font which used for character names suits to overall look and feel of the piece brilliantly. On top of this, there are also numerous sequences on location, at the vets or in the woods. This is wonderfully complemented by the sound design provided by Eduardo Patricio which is beautifully contrasting to the story’s tone and makes for an almost coming of age parable.
Whilst I believe the film is a documentary, the whole set up feels more like a mockumentary. Cody's dark comedy lines about the tragic situation for her pet are too funny to seem real. Which makes for a compelling viewing experience as you ponder the reality of what you are being presented, and the juxtaposing themes of love and loss play with the viewer’s emotions throughout. Cody's candid poem at the latter end of Fupa being a marvelous example of this bittersweetness.
Tonally masterful and directed with tight precision and craft, Gustavo Martin's Fupa is, finally, the film audiences needed to begin to feel compassion towards rats. It is also a brilliantly performed piece with a sterling central performance. Well two if you include Fupa, who is spectacularly aloof about his ordeal. What a champ.