Piggy (2022) Carlota Pereda

The expansion of the short film of the same name, Piggy, is an atypical horror-tinged revenge film based primarily on a realistic description of the social environment surrounding the protagonist (the wonderful Laura Galan). The ambiguous infatuation with evil, which takes the form of a kind of avenging angel, could perhaps be taken even further; but even so, this debut by Carlota Pereda remains a good essay on “social” horror in the broadest sense of the term.

summer revenge

From fruitful Carrie (book and film) onwards, the theme of bullying has always been particularly well-matched with the horror genre. This was well known to Stephen King himself, who, speaking of Jonah constantly bullied, he founded one of the main themes of his narrative, as well as his recognized masterpiece (this is obviously about This). And, apparently, the Spanish director Carlota Pereda should have known this well too when she filmed the 2019 short film. Money box, winner of the Goya Award in its category and marked the beginning of his directorial debut in the feature film of the same name. The story takes place in a small Spanish city center. The main character is a teenage girl Sarah, the daughter of the owners of a local butcher shop, constantly being attacked by her peers, nicknamed Piggy for obesity. After another cruel prank by her three main tormentors, Sara finds an unexpected opportunity for revenge: a stranger actually kidnaps the three practically in front of her, sparing her. Sarah ignores the three girls’ pleas for help, but soon after, she comes under pressure from the police and the family of one of the three who reported her daughter missing. Meanwhile, Sarah again meets on her way an unknown kidnapper, with whom she develops an ambiguous relationship.

The horror of reality

Piggy, movie scene
Piggy, a scene from Carlota Pereda’s movie

This Money box, the expansion and development of the short film, it must first be said that it fortunately does not fall into the trap of many other similar operations that ultimately dilute the potential of the model in an artificially expanded container. Movie Carlota Peredaon the contrary, it builds a convincing structure around the main idea, based on the description of a wretched Spanish province, hanging in a hot summer, where the drama of the protagonist’s marginalization unfolds. Throughout the first half, and after it, Money box in fact, it’s more like a bullying drama turned into a thriller than a real horror: the more “visual” episodes (in the broadest sense of the word) are actually those that show the oppression that the protagonist is subjected to. subjected, mercilessly forced in the central scene of the film to demonstrate that body, which the current aesthetic canons arbitrarily consider, on the contrary, hidden. A body that at a time of the year like summer – when it appears and shows off (and shows itself) mostly – can only hide at the bottom of the pool, perhaps craving a pair of gills that will allow it not to continue to suffer from suffering. torment awaits on the surface. Apnea so severe – even mental – that he does not even notice another lifeless body nearby, which is a prelude to what will happen shortly after. In fact, Piggy’s rudeness is a lot like real-life horror, in which the teenage outsider’s story unfolds with a naturalistic and believable bent.

In the light of the sun

Piggy, Laura Galan in a scene from the movie
Piggy, Laura Galan in a scene from Carlota Pereda’s film

The director is good at “drawing a circle” around the main character, describing with a certain accuracy the environment that surrounds her, with the context of peers and family, which turn out to be equally oppressive. Pereda’s view of the protagonist’s family is not entirely benevolent, divided between anachronistic severity and calls for a “normalization” of Sarah’s life, which at present remains clearly impossible. The blindness of fact that overlays the description – brief but effective – immobile and sclerotic in its baseness of provincial life, in which the act of bullying becomes a pretext for a grotesque family feud, and in which teenage problems become the object of “Beware”. only when three girls disappear without a trace. A province in which both eyes are closed to the loneliness of its weakest elements and awaken from their stupor only when the horror has already been revealed. A horror that will be bathed in the summer sun (especially in the final scene), an oppressive light that this time will reveal the true features of the protagonist’s life. Revealed and this time understood.

Unusual revenge film

Piggy, Laura Galan and Richard Holmes in a still from the movie
Piggy, Laura Galan and Richard Holmes in a still from Carlota Pereda’s film

Money box it’s not even a classic revenge movie, and that’s another one of its strengths. The protagonist’s “revenge” has nothing liberating or cathartic, it consumes itself in the same clumsy (but realistic) way that Sarah leads her existence. Realism, sometimes grotesquely tinged (one of the few really splattering scenes is the result of involuntary action), which is primarily facilitated by the wonderful acting of the protagonist. Laura Galan, former short film translator. It is in light of its nature as an unconventional revenge film that, in fact, veers more into horror. need that in terms of programmatic choice of genre, Carlota Pereda’s film could perhaps have been bolder in describing the ambiguous connection between the protagonist and the killer. The charm that the nameless kidnapper has on Sarah, the ambiguous element of affection that informs her, and, above all, her sexual component, barely hinted at in any scene, could probably find a more organic place in the plot, heightened in this, even More addition, the charm of the film. A film that should be given a chance in any case, including due to an unfortunate choice of the rental window (with Barbie which largely monopolizes cinema visits), but above all as an essay in the horror genre, which, when it wants to, still manages to become overtly social (in the broadest sense of the word) without losing its viciousness.


Piggy, Italian movie poster



Original name: angry
Director: Carlota Pereda
Country/year: France, Spain / 2022
Duration: 99′
Type: Horror, Drama, Thriller
Throw: Julian Valcarcel, Pilar Castro, Amets Ochoa, Calero, Camille Aguilar, Carmen Machi, Chema del Barco, Claudia Salas, Eva Garcia-Vacas, Fernando Delgado-Hierro, Fred Tatien, Irene Ferreiro, Firefaiter, Jose Gabriel Campos, Jose Luis Canton, Jose Pastor, Jose Vicente Moiron, Laura Galan, Luz Carmen Herrera, Lea Lois, Mabel del Pozo, Malena Gutierrez, Marta Carmona, Pedro Garcia, Richard Holmes, Stephanie Magnien
Screenplay: Carlota Pereda
Photo: Rita Noriega
Assembly: David Pelegrin
Music: Olivier Arson
Director: Maria Soler, David Atlan Jackson, Jean-Baptiste Babin, Joel Tibout, Merry Colomer
Production house: Morena Films, Cerdita, Backup Media, Triodos Bank, Movistar+, Radio Televisión Española (RTVE), Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts (ICAA), La Banque Postale, Moreno Films, Indéfilms
Distribution: Chudo Pictures

Release date: 20.07.2023


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Journalist and film critic. I am or have collaborated with various online and print publications including (in chronological order) L’Acchiappafilm, Movieplayer.it and Quinlan.it. Since 2018, I have been a consultant for the Stelle Diverse and Aspie Saturday Film psychoeducational reviews organized by the CuoreMenteLab center in Rome. In 2019, I founded the website Asbury Movies, of which I am the Editor and Managing Director.

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