Tungrus

****

Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Tungrus
"It attracts and deserves warm laughter, far less awkward in its soaring than the feathered flight of its antagonist."

A story of a family and their pet rooster, possessed of a strong sense of humour and an unflinching depiction of a gleefully chaotic domestic situation, Tungrus is a treat. With its origins in what one son describes as one of those "classic 'my dad' moments" (I think every family has them) it shows daily life in a Mumbai flat with a handful of adults, put-upon cats Ginger and Garlic, and the rooster - "a full blown terror in the house".

This is lovely stuff - but not without incident - it does not shy away from the meat of the matter nor from the messy business of animal husbandry. This is not one for the weak of stomach, and as Glasgow Short Film Awards host Ronan Leonard of Indie Cork noticed, evidenced a theme among the awards and honourable mentions that seemed in opposition to the festival's preponderance of vegan venues.

The cannibal rooster is not called Tungrus - that name comes from uncle, whose village upbringing has him chasing the red-headed rampager in a very particular circumstance. He resembles at those moments Naseeruddin Shah's turn in Mandi, a bit of comic business that cannot compete with the corridor comedy of rooster-wrangling. Eye For Film saw it twice at GSFF 2019, and each time there were coos at the cockerel cooried doon in the crook of a kindly elbow, a fondness not matched by the cats and a sentimentality not shared by the family.

There's a content warning - not strobe, thankfully, nor will you be surprised by the repetition of the raucus rooster's cock-crow, but however long-legged the crop-bearer might be, food isn't free. In this it shares a tone or two with In The Fall, and also won. The International Audience Award was obviously deserved - it attracts and deserves warm laughter, far less awkward in its soaring than the feathered flight of its antagonist.

It's documentary, too good to not be true, and told well, to the extent that its shots of high rises and flight, the compositions of balcony and blue skies are better balanced than the cats' frantic fleeings and the chicken's skittering escapes. Rishi Chandna's first film, it's hard to determine if this is a shaggy dog story or something else, but what is certain is that it's fabulous.

Reviewed on: 04 Dec 2019
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In a cramped Mumbai apartment, a family considers eating their hell-raising pet rooster, in order to reclaim their lives.

Director: Rishi Chandna

Year: 2018

Runtime: 13 minutes

Country: India

Festivals:

GSFF 2019

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