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The Affected review: Shining a light on the muddled times we live in

Release Date: 2020 / 13min

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Sukhpreet Kahlon

Rikke Gregersen’s finely crafted short film is funny, absurd and thought-provoking.

How many times do we complain about things around us and yet end up as spectators rather than people fighting the good fight? Directed by Rikke Gregersen, the short fiction film The Affected unfolds on a plane when a woman protests against the deportation of a man on the same flight.

The woman refuses to sit down as there is a man on board the plane who will be deported to Afghanistan, where he will be killed. Refusing to be a bystander to the act, she remains standing, thereby delaying the take-off. As the passengers turn spectators to the events unfolding in the plane, they represent different views of society which range from the disinterested to the conscientious and those who are just muddling along, trying to figure out their response.

There is the co-pilot who is more interested in taking selfies for Instagram and has an opinion on everything, the attendant who is trying to figure out the correct terms for talking about people of different ethnicities, a man who largely sleeps through everything but jumps into being a part of the crowd, a couple who are more concerned about emission trading than the issue under their noses, and a whole range in between.

As the captain of the aircraft, the pilot has a textbook response, following the guidelines without pausing to think about the issue at hand. He even tries to sort out the matter himself, making it worse in the bargain.

The Affected is a comment on the inaction of society, choosing to focus solely on the passengers and never showing us the people at the centre of the incident.  The cinematography adeptly captures the frustration and reactions of the passengers in the cramped space of the plane, taking us in and out of spaces and conversations smoothly. 

Presumably based on a true incident where a Swedish woman protested to stop an asylum seeker from being deported to Afghanistan, Gregersen's film leaves us thinking about what ordinary citizens can do to bring about certain outcomes in a largely somnolent society. With never a dull moment, the film is funny, absurd, thought-provoking and finely crafted.

The Affected has been widely screened at international festivals and won several awards, including the Best Nordic Short Film award at Nordisk Panorama, Sweden, and the Jury award for Best Narrative Short at Movies On War, Norway. It is now being screened at the Palm Springs ShortFest, which is on from 22–28 June 2021.


Related topics

Palm Springs Short Festival

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