Sometimes drastic measures involve being nude — both physically and emotionally, to really understand oneself and what matters in life. This is the premise behind My Stuff (Tavarataivas), Findland’s entry to this year’s Bright Nights: Baltic-Nordic Film Festival in Ottawa (February 1-12), hosted by the Canadian Film Institute (CFI). Writer, director and star of the documentary-style production is Petri Luukkainen, a 26-year-old attempting to recover from a breakup with his long-time girlfriend. Driven by this experience, he decides to embark on a human experiment and puts all of his things into storage while setting rules to live by for an entire year. These include picking only one item per day to use from his storage space and never buying anything new. This leaves us with a completely buck naked Luukainen in a barren apartment, a stark metaphor for not only his emotional state in dealing with the breakup but also a sense of loneliness one can feel in an overwhelming and isolated world.
Stripped of his clothes and possessions, the film follows his daily struggles with following the rules, like feeding himself or keeping food without a refrigerator. It’s an intriguing concept about self-discovery and happiness as viewers are led to ask themselves what they could and couldn’t live without. With plenty of humour mixed in, My Stuff provides an introspective look at consumer culture and our obsession with things. As the story evolves, Luukkainen discovers the unnecessary items within his belongings and then things get even more interesting when a new woman is involved, challenging the continuation of his experiment.
As part of Bright Nights, the film was screened on Feb. 5 at Library and Archives Canada. The festival is a collaboration between CFI and the Embassies of the Baltic and Nordic nations, showcasing contemporary cinema from Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden.
For more information, visit http://mystuffmovie.com or view the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUBVl0FG6Yc.