THE 2021 FANTASTIC FEST FILM DOES NOT DISAPPOINT WITH THIS ABSURDIST ADVENTURE STORY.
Samuel travels to Eastern Europe to look for a father he’s never met and, during a moment of distraction while driving, hits a piglet on the road. Thinking he’s killed the tiny thing, he tries to bury it in the woods and is caught by the owner, Kirke. When the piglet turns out to be fine, Samuel drives Kirke and her piggy back to the farm as an apology, where he in turn is offered food and shelter for the night. In the morning, he’s assaulted by the family members and chained to a wall in the pig pen. What at first seems like a horrible situation may well turn into newfound happiness.
In this pitch black comedy out of Latvia, our main character becomes the alpha in a herd of pigs. While the countryfolk of Eastern Europe are portrayed as simple minded bumpkins, it’s never insulting — just part of a tale that is so outrageously grotesque and funny that you forget Samuel is trapped in a horrible situation. Samuel’s ordeal leads him to deep introspection and long-dormant feelings are awoken.
Despite the premise, SQUEAL, directed by Fantastic Fest alumnus Aik Karapetian (THE MAN IN THE ORANGE JACKET which played FF 2014) is actually a story about finding happiness in the most unlikely of places. And I guarantee you’ll all want a piglet of your own after seeing this crazy fairytale from Absurdistan. (ANNICK MAHNERT)