SLAMDANCE 2021 – Writer/director Loris Giuseppe Nese‘s Bad Mood (2021) takes a look at the mental state of the working class in an animated but hard-hitting short film. Bad Mood‘s story was brief but its message is powerful and it is one that will be lingering in my thoughts as a subject that requires further reflection on how the crushing outside forces that bog down present-day society affects us internally.
Bad Mood is mostly told through the voice of a child who recounts how his mother’s behavior puts him in a bad mood. Through these anecdotes filtered through a child’s voice and vision, Nese delivers his somber message and forms the true central character of the short–a domestic worker raising a son on her own.
Bad Mood is the kind of film that sparks conversation, as its biting critique on the treatment of marginalized working-class brings attention to mental health issues caused by such treatment, and how the system creates a cycle of issues as a parent’s bad mood from being subjected to this lifestyle is further passed down to her child.
Bad Mood‘s animation is as stark as its story, as Nese uses animation that looks reminiscent of some expressionism art style, one that uses a lot of black negative space to create its block-colored focus image. Nese distorts these images in a way that perhaps displays the childlike reality of the young narrator and/or the distortion of mental health that occurs when one has to live in an ongoing precarious and oppressive state.
This Italian-language short explores emotionally deep things, and relied heavily on its themes more than its animation, in my opinion. I did find the imagery repetitive over its 13-minute course, which seemed to play on a loop beneath the narration–this may perhaps be due to budget constraints, or a directorial choice to force the message to be heard loud and clear, and because of its important message, no matter its faults I find Bad Mood to be the kind of short that is a necessary watch for continued societal discourse on social issues.
Bad Mood is currently playing at Slamdance 2021.
6.5 out of 10