'I AM PREGNANT'
- Directed by Debabrat Samal -
I am pregnant is a short film about the fears of a young woman who wishes to become a mother.
Feeling pressured by those surrounding her, Anshika worries about not becoming pregnant during her five years of marriage. One night she has a tormenting dream about suddenly waking up with an inflated belly and raising suspicions among her husband’s family members. She wakes up in dismay, no longer wishing to experience pregnancy.
Anshika’s dream shows the worries of a wife who is part of a conservative society, where marriage is the common business of a family. Feeling insecure about her long-time difficulty in having children, she fears repercussions from her husband’s relatives, which turn into a thriller plot in her dream: her mother-in-law stabs her.
Shining a light on a theme like women’s condition in a traditionalist culture is admirable and the director explores the central character’s fears and worries in detail. Though the film starts with an intriguing surrealist premise: a woman that becomes several months pregnant overnight, the story becomes diluted, containing too many overly-dramatic dialogues, but also silent moments that lack purpose. The rhythm is disrupted and the viewer loses focus. The characters have little chemistry and apart from the protagonist, the other actors seem to be disconnected to the depicted situation. The framing and the chosen points of view don’t help much either in building suspense. Even taking into consideration the conventions of the portrayed society, the conflict is still overripe. The sound design would have also needed more attention; in some scenes, the voices of characters that are far from the camera can be poorly heard.
Nevertheless, the director shows an interest in meaningful modern matters and in creative storytelling and directing. The scene from the beginning, when the dialogue unfolds in the background while the couple has a silent dinner is an expressive scene, where the audience gets to know the tale of two characters, while also being able to observe them in a casual moment.
All in all, “I am pregnant” is a short film that features an interesting plot, but is deficient in an overall creative vision and in attention to technical quality.