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ANNECY 2024

Review: Spermageddon

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- Norway’s Tommy Wirkola and Rasmus A Sivertsen tell the tale of a shoal of spermatozoids desperately seeking out an egg to fertilise

Review: Spermageddon

The first animated film created in tandem by Norwegian directors Tommy Wirkola and Rasmus A Sivertsen, Spermageddon, which was screened in a world premiere within the Annecy International Animation Film Festival’s Midnight Specials section, invites audiences to follow the bewildering, dramatic and incredibly entertaining adventures of a shoal of sperm who will stop at nothing to fulfil their mission. Mainly known for his slasher movies dominated by Nazi zombies, Dead Snow [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, the latter being a camp and violent, horror retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Tommy Wirkola has now collaborated with the Norwegian director of animated movies Rasmus A Sivertsen (Louis & Luca – Mission to the Moon [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, Just Super [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) to create an animated musical about sex and reproduction, narrated from the viewpoint of spermatozoids. The result is surprising, to say the least: an explosive mix of humour, vulgarity and tenderness.

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Spermageddon follows the adventures of two adolescents, Jens and Lisa, who are faced with an unwelcome surprise after having sex for the first time. Because Simen and Cumilla, two of Jens’ spermatozoids, have managed to overcome countless obstacles (primarily condoms and a spermicidal cream) to reach the much-coveted egg. Spermageddon is an irreverent comedy which couldn’t care less about the suffocating conservatism which is dangerously gaining ground in many countries where this film probably won’t ever be screened. Prepared to take on each and every taboo, the two creators of this horny adventure want their protagonists, Jens and Lisa, to be able to decide freely on their future, on what they do or don’t want to do with their bodies. Despite the subject-matter explored, which definitely isn’t mainstream or family-friendly, Spermageddon doesn’t look to shock for shocking’s sake; on the contrary, the two protagonists’ story is told with unexpected affection, as if the inevitable awkwardness of adolescence were the guiding line for all of the film’s scenes. Jens and Lisa are novices, but, both frightened and fascinated by experiences which they’d only dreamed of to this point, they’re determined to impose their own rules.

Spermageddon is impregnated with a kind of ingenuous sweetness typical of films made “for everyone”, but it also broaches themes which are anything but suitable for family trips to the cinema. This contrast works perfectly well and saves the film from falling into the trap of cynicism and gratuitous vulgarity. The characters are decidedly endearing and the audience can’t help but be swept away in their hope-filled journey and their race to reach a paradise which might not even exist. The scene where an ambiguous but hilarious bacteria (E. Coli) helps Simen, Cumilla and their companions to continue their journey thanks to a fit of coprophagia is nothing short of unforgettable. The decision to tell the story as if a musical is also incredibly astute; in fact, it’s those wonderfully absurd moments where the characters sing and choreograph their torments which lend the film its real USP. The scene where a gynaecologist sings the praises of family planning is particularly apt and effective in this respect.

Tommy Wirkola and Rasmus A Sivertsen are fearless, reminding us with a hilarious warning in the closing credits that it’s impossible for spermatozoids to travel from the digestive system to the uterus (after anal sex). In short, Spermadeggon is a captivating and irreverent film which will undoubtedly get tongues wagging.

Spermageddon is produced by 74 Entertainment and sold worldwide by Charades.

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(Translated from Italian)

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