Baby Bump: Rupture of adolescence
by Sabine Kues
- VENICE 2015: Growing up seems to literally mean growing out of your body for emerging Polish director Kuba Czekaj, who is presenting his feature at the Lido
Baby Bump [+see also:
interview: Kuba Czekaj
film profile], the second feature by director Kuba Czekaj, was developed and produced at the Biennale College – Cinema and is one of the three features emerging from the third edition of this training initiative. Organised by the Biennale di Venezia, in cooperation with New York’s ifp and the Torino Film Lab, the laboratory selects and supports young and emerging filmmakers by screening their works in the parallel section of the Venice Film Festival.
Baby Bump shows how violent growing up can be, as the film follows 11-year-old Mickey House, who flees the harsh reality of his corporeal changes and escapes into a fantasy world, accompanied by his animated friend, the Jerboa Mouse – his long-eared alter ego.
But Mickey not only has to contend with his protruding ears (although he might actually consider them his greatest handicap), for which he intends to have plastic surgery, and which he fantasises about cutting off and gluing to his head; in fact, his whole body is no longer under his control, and neither is his relationship with his mother, who also ignores the signs of her son maturing.
Rich in sexual imagery, Baby Bump accompanies Mickey’s coming-of-age process by creating a colourful fantasy world (with cinematographer Adam Palenta once again at Czekaj’s side). Mickey is immersed in a horrifying, comic book-like world in which physical dimensions seem to be just as much out of proportion as his personal image of his own body. Having not only directed but also written the screenplay, Czekaj is not afraid to take risks and experiment with close-ups and animated sequences in this film. He even re-introduces the now-rare split screen, and by doing this, it seems that even the filmic body is under an immense pressure to mature. It is all about pushing boundaries – corporeal as well as genre ones.
In his previous short films, Czekaj also took on stories told from a child’s perspective (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark Room, Twist and Blood). His feature debut, The Erlprince, about a tremendously gifted young boy set on his theory of parallel worlds, is slated to be released in autumn 2016. The work-in-progress version was presented during this year’s edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival’s Works in Progress (read the article here).
Baby Bump was produced by Magdalena Kamińska and Agata Szymańska for Polish outfit Balapolis.
As part of the Venice Sala Web catalogue, Baby Bump is being screened online from 3-9 September here.