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The Independent Critic

Pirjo Lonka, Tommi Korpela, Matvei German, Sanna-Kaisa Palo
Teemu Niukkanen
Antti Toivonen
12 Mins.

 "Are You Hungry?" Set to Screen at Sundance Film Festival 
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The team that brought us the satanic cult comedy short Fucking Bunnies is back with the twisted comedy of Are You Hungry?, a 12-minute short film that had its world premiere at TIFF in 2019 and is set to screen at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival going on from January 23 - February 2 of this year. The Finnish short tells the story of an over-protective mom (Pirjo Lonka) who tries to guide her possibly gay son (Matvei German) toward the heaven of homosexuality and away from demons of older gents and the misguided ways. 

Nominated for Best International Short at TIFF, Are You Hungry? is also a nominee for Best Short Film at Sundance and should win over audiences with its dry humor and pointed commentary. Pirjo Lonka is an absolute gem as the mom, a well-meaning woman who has clearly lost the ability to communicate with her son and whose mind is going in a million different directions with her actions soon following. Matvei German is a deadpan delight as the possibly gay son, who seems oblivious to his mother's state of confusion and yet whose behaviors will have you checking off that "possibly gay" checklist in your own mind. 

Directed by Teemu Niukkanen off a script by Antti Toivonen, Are You Hungry? is an uncomfortably funny short that leaves you wondering just how far Niukkanen and Toivonen are willing to take it and exactly what directly they're aiming for with it all. They choose to leave a little mystery to it all in just the right way, a perfectly right-on touch to a perfectly delightful short film. 

Lensing by Aarne Tapola furthers that sense of uncomfortable humor that gives the film an idea of the kind of perversity wandering through the mother's mind, while the film's editing by Joona Louhivuori lingers at all the right times. 

Are You Hungry? takes that all too familiar dilemma of mis-communicating parents and their teenaged children and throws in the uncertainty of sexuality and the psychological twists that inevitably travel through our minds. The end result is 12-minutes of richly human, strange and wonderful comedy. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic