Grimmfest 2022: Piggy (2022)
Piggy (in Spanish Cerdita) is based on Carlota Pereda’s short feature film debut, winner of the Goya Award and the Forqué Award for Best Short Film in 2019. Laura Galán reprises her role from the short film as Sara, a dark haired very Spanish looking teenager.
Sara is fat and all the village kids and teens call her names – mainly Cerdita (piggy), it doesn’t help that her family are butchers.
She sits behind the counter looking sullen watching all the other teens in the square outside the family shop having ‘fun’ – they don’t include her. It appears that one of the bullies Claudia (Irene Ferreiro) was once good friends with Sara as they share identical BFF bracelets, but now she’s just another cruel bully who fits in with that gang.
Sara avoids confrontation and the teens by swimming at the local lido when they’ve gone. But today as she strips down to her flimsy bikini showing off every inch of her gloriously rotund voluptuous body, she notices a stranger, a man idling in the water, watching.
As Sara is about to dive in her 3 main torturers appear- Maca (Claudia Sala) Claudia and Roci Maca (Camille Aguilar), they call her names, then steal her clothes and towel meaning she will have the long walk home in just her bikini.
The stranger gets out of the pool and leaves in his van.
Now I don’t really like giving the whole plot of any film away, so here my synopsis will end.
I know this film is being sold as a straight up horror, and seeing the film poster of Galan covered in blood makes one assume that this could be some sort of fat-shaming, revenge horror film, but it’s much more than that.
I’m fat. And I admit I found Piggy a very uncomfortable watch, as I could see a lot of myself in Sara. Bullied, depressed, a shrieking mother who is literally just as bad as the bullies, exclusion, unhappiness and comfort in chocolate (though I would never have been brave enough to wear a bikini).
At one point on her long half naked walk home a car load of lads from the village stop and assault her – grabbing at her, trying to strip her, while all the time telling her how disgusting she is – Right there is true man’s inhumanity to man, peoples prejudice against anyone who isn’t ‘perfect’. The genuine look of terror on Galan’s face is palpable.
Galan’s performance will be called ‘brave’ just because she’s fat and reveals her shape throughout, this isn’t a brave performance, it’s one filled with pain, you can see it in her eyes, it resonates.
The story itself paled for me as I kept wondering what a ‘normal’ (ones with no experience of being bullied because of their size) film audience would make of this story, would they be disgusted at the behaviour of the bullies – and interestingly right to the very end, they don’t stop – Roci’s final word is PIGGY…
So my view of this isn’t of visceral horror – of which there is plenty, but rather psychological. I yearned for Sara to pick up a knife and gut several of characters, but the thing is, Sara despite her size and her experience of relentless abuse at the hands of others, is the only human of the story (and to some extent, so is the stranger). It’s the normal thin beautiful people who are the pigs.
Review by Tina from a streaming link kindly supplied by Grimmfest.