Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

"Although Buda makes use of comedy here, it’s always underlined with a recognition of the strain of being unable to be one’s whole self."

In the Western world, it has never been more difficult for young people to afford housing than it is today. This makes it difficult to start living an independent life. Alice (voiced by Natasa Stork) is 27 but still lives with her parents and young brother. She is increasingly desperate for her adult life to start, but it’s only when a drunken bicycle accident leaves her in a coma that she is fully able to process her feelings and understand how urgent the situation has become.

Frustrated erotic desires – often a driving factor in the pursuit of independence – are a big part of Alice’s problem. Director Flóra Anna Buda didn’t want that to put people off her film, so chose to represent Alice’s experiences – real and fictional – in a playful, Sixties style of animation which easily gives way to psychedelia in dream sequences. There is no effort to dazzle us with swirling colours, however, as, with little room to spare in the 11 minute runtime, Buda prefers to stick to the essential elements of narrative.

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Shortlisted for a Best Animated Short Oscar, 27 could be this year’s My Year Of Dicks, but there’s a different kind of urgency behind it, a constant awareness of how many people are struggling in just this way. We tend to trivialise the erotic, to accord it little value in the scale of human need, but although Buda makes use of comedy here, it’s always underlined with a recognition of the strain of being unable to be one’s whole self. Even masturbation proves difficult with a nosy little brother in the house, and the sense of humiliation that comes from her failure to fit in as either a child or an adult has clearly been eating away at Alice’s resolve, making it harder for her to take decisive action.

The luminous animation adds something magical to a story whose fantastical elements seem all the more relevant in the context of a life made bearable only by fantasy, but in the end, for both Alice and the viewer, reality finds a way of making itself plain.

Reviewed on: 20 Jan 2024
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27 packshot
Alice lives at her parents' place at the age of 27 with no private life or a relationship. It takes a bicycle accident and a short coma to make her realize that it's time to move out.

Director: Flóra Anna Buda

Writer: Flóra Anna Buda

Starring: Natasa Stork, Ádám Fekete, Franciska Farkas

Year: 2023

Runtime: 11 minutes

Country: France, Hungary


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