Cerdita [Piggy] (2022)

Director: Carlota Pereda
Writer: Carlota Pereda
Cast: Laura Galán, Irene Ferreiro, Camille Aguilar, Claudia Salas, Carmen Machi, Julián Valcárcel, José Pastor, Richard Holmes
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 23./24.9.2022

Content Note: fatmisia

Sara (Laura Galán) is fat, and the people around her make sure that she doesn’t forget it. Especially her schoolmates, Roci (Camille Aguilar) and Maca (Claudia Salas). Claudia (Irene Ferreiro) is more friendly, but when the other girls bully Sara, she goes along anyway. One day at the pool – where Sara only heads at noon, when everybody else has fled from the heat – Roci, Maca and Claudia find her there and almost drown her. But there is actually a stranger (Richard Holmes) as well who witnesses the entire thing. Sara and the stranger share a moment as their eyes meet – and it’s a moment that will change everything.

Piggy was probably the biggest disappointment for me at the SLASH Film Festival this year. As a fat woman, I was hoping for a fathate revenge flick and was really excited about the prospect. Instead I got a messy narrative that affords Sara extremely little agency.

The film poster showing Sara (Lara Galán) covered in blood, standing in the middle of the street.

The thing about revenge films are that they are power fantasies. Somebody who has suffered violence takes back the power, all the power, even the power over life and death and they use it without remorse. Good revenge films, therefore, will leave us with a sense of empowerment. Something that has been taken away is given back and it feels good. Plus, the perpretators deserve to be punished. (Of course, I don’t condone going on a killing spree in real life, but we’re talking fiction here.) This is what I as hoping Piggy would do for me.

But no such luck (to be fair, I don’t think that Pereda set out to make a revenge film, but that doesn’t make this much better). Sara is afforded practically no power, no agency in the entire film. Only at the very end can she make a decision that actually impacts the narrative, and even then, it’s not a decision that she makes with clarity or without remorse (plus, I was halfway rooting for her to make the opposite decision. This would have still been a fucked-up ending, but it would have been better than this “other cheek” crap we got here). Yes, it’s definitely nice that the film ends with the fat girl riding off into the sunset with the pretty boy, but that just doesn’t make up for all the ways Sara is made powerless before that.

Sara (Laura Galán) holding a golden statue.

And so the dominating memory the film left behind was the way Sara was humiliated in the beginning. It’s a harrowing scene, and one I felt in my very bones, but it is not the feeling I should be taking away from the film. In addition, the way the fatness of the stranger’s body was set in scene was nothing but pure horror, reinforcing that fatness is bad.

Overall it’s a well-executed film, and Galán is fantastic. I was definitely invested in the story, and Pereda racks up a decent amount of tension. But I just couldn’t get past the film we could have gotten.

Sara (Laura Galán) huddled together with a man (Richard Holmes). He is holding a large knife.

Summarizing: disappointing.

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