little pig | Cinephile Republic |

In this horror film, director Carlota Pereda’s first film, she avoids clichés and common places very well because it is constituted as another interesting disturbing story from Spain in a simple plot, in a small town in the region of Extremadura it is summer and it is Much hot. Sara is humiliated by other young people due to her overweight, her family owns the butcher shop where she is the cashier. One day when she goes out to bathe in the public pool, she is attacked by three girls who call her “piggy”. She, therefore, will run away after the other girls steal her clothes and in her escape she will find a van driven by a psychopath, who has the girls who bullied her inside.

The psycho won’t attack her and Sara won’t tell what she saw. Spanish cinema has a good tradition of disturbing stories filmed in small towns, in which stereotypes are highlighted, mostly local people, police officers, neighbors, young people. On those elements so typical of that cinematography, Pereda builds a tale of horror and terror that is sustained on issues related to the social and political. The originality of the film Cerdita is in the character of Sara played by the actress Laura Galán, an introverted young woman managed by her mother who suffers the ridicule of the other girls, which prevents her from being encouraged to show the body of her freely.

In the finale there is a twist to the idea of ​​revenge, which could have gone towards commonplace, but it doesn’t. Interesting sample of Spanish horror cinema, which continues adding achievements for several decades. After the success of the short film Cerdita, Carlota Pereda decided to make the move to a feature film with the same story and, above all, with that atmosphere of violence and bullying that invades and suffocates us more in a town. The pool scene in the short, that uncomfortable sequence of insults and humiliation towards Sara with a very brave Laura Galán for her body, is also almost the start of the feature.

And in that moment that left us full of questions, if there was some revenge fantasy in Sara’s actions or just pure fear, the film extends. Pig ‘invites you to reflect on a (world) scourge, while she delves into horror in a creative way, through format, planning, lighting or sound. Will any spectator feel unexpectedly challenged and embarrassed by her message? Will they choke on the popcorn? I wish. Seen on the tape of the best in its aesthetic proposal within a rich story and with a bit of the worst that, despite its clear and forceful message, some alluded to may not feel alluded to. Little Pig just premiered on the streaming service platforms at Paramount+ and Claro Video and it is already a whole cinematic phenomenon that was already predicted since the beginning of this year at Sundance 2022, was confirmed at the San Sebastian International Film Festival 2022 and was has corroborated during his visit to Sitges 2022. He has received applause and fans for his journey, as well as striking praise from directors seasoned in genre cinema such as Edgar Wright or Sean Baker, and the truth is no wonder. Something was intuited given the background with which he started.

My 8.5 rating for this outstanding debut film, it must be remembered in Spain it was the year 2018 when the story of Carlota Pereda won the Goya award for Best Short Film. That work, also titled Little Pig, was a 14-minute story that housed serious drama on the subject of bullying. It featured Sara, a teenager who is bullied for being overweight. One day, after some girls attack her and steal her clothes in the pool, she witnesses how they are kidnapped. There a dilemma presented itself, for her and the public that saw the short. What are you doing now? Shut up or speak?

That character could not stop there, and the dilemma he proposed had to be developed. For this reason, Pig, the film, is not only a reflection on bullying, which it is. It’s a warning about the side effects of bullying. Pereda makes good use of various genres for his feature film: high doses of thriller, succulent pills of black comedy and, of course, terror. Once again, there is no better genre to get to know ourselves, as individuals and as social subjects. At the stroke of a slasher, here he delves into authentic fears, palpable within today’s society. Because there are few things as terrifying as the scene where those girls mock Sara in the pool.

The directorial debut Carlota Pereda that has become one of the most acclaimed titles of the year 2022, in a striking story where Sara is a young woman who every summer has to put up with the girls’ constant jokes about her weight. One day she contemplates how a strange man begins to kidnap them, but she will not do anything to save those who until now have made her life impossible. The already habitual panic of the adolescent that paralyzes her here multiplies, the eyes and comments of her neighbors against her shoot up. She was a victim of it and now they make her guilty.

Pereda reflects on that silent and indifferent culture of terror that sneaks into society and leaves a young woman so marked. And she does it paying attention to that detailed plan, to the suffocating sound of a town that is silent or talks too much. The traditional terror, located in a town in Extremadura, is understood throughout the world. It does not matter if the “chacha” is not translated, Sara’s fear is understood in any language.

Pereda finds, at times, the black humor of this cruel story because of its realism, because of its facility to recognize those characters on one side of the bullying and on the other. The attraction to danger, to evil, is a diversion and an interesting coming-of-age twist towards a unique empowerment. Because the cinema of criticism, analysis and social denunciation has a long history and a significant number of authors and titles. Gore horror movies have not stagnated either, but have evolved, sophisticated and been reborn several times. There are no minor or exhausted genres when behind them there are creators willing to rethink them.

We can identify certain situations and characters, yes, and find precedents and references for them, but, in the joyous case of ‘Cerdita’, this is only the beginning of our approach to her. Carlota Pereda’s talent, gaze and personality have made her debut film a phenomenon. And not fair, but festivals. And not only for fans of bloody films, but also for a more heterodox and, as they say now, transversal audience. That bullying that, unfortunately, does not stop and that there are sophisticated allies and new ways of spreading through social networks, cell phone messages is a monster that is not only born and reproduces in large cities and schools: it also has its space in towns like that of this feature film born from a celebrated short by Pereda.

And, as the filmmaker says, Sara, her battered anti-heroine, isn’t particularly good: she’s just human. And many of her reactions respond to impulses and accumulated anger. The arrival of another monster in town, that psychokiller who is sensed to be sensitive, or at least different, places Sara in a different place, where she often does not know, from the outset, which side she is on: from the ferocious stalkers and beware of the progenitors of these or the recently arrived ruthless murderer. Savior or accomplice? Is it time to forget and forgive, or to join the carnage?

Lic. Ernesto Lerma, head of the section and journalistic column.

little pig | Cinephile Republic |