Yngvild Sve Fikke, Norway 2021
NINJABABY is one of those rare films that not only makes you laugh out loud but beneath the surface has a deep, underlying message delivered by a comic strip baby. We are immediately thrown into the chaotic life of Rakel, a female artist (Kristine Thorp). She is like a butterfly in the wind drifting here to there with few responsibilities. She enjoys nibbling on the fruits of life which includes drinking, drugs and sex with no intention of changing it. Her love life is equally complicated: a patchwork of relationships with men coming in and out of her life, all this with no set plans for the future.
Certainly, Rakel doesn’t make the best candidate as a pregnant woman, fortunately, she is surrounded by people who want to help her find her direction in life. The film really takes off when her roommate suspects that Rakel is pregnant and insists that she takes a pregnancy test. It is time to face reality. At this point Norwegian director Yngvild Sve Fikke uses animation. We are introduced to the unborn baby with an incredibly strong will to live. It definitely wants to make its presence known and does its best trying to connect with future mom. So the discussions begin. Since Rakel’s strength lies in her creativity, she begins to illustrate her feelings and discuss with NINJABABY all the reasons why she wouldn’t make the best mother and who is the father anyway?
The dark sense of humor makes you forget that we are diving into a serious subject. Rakel is seriously thinking about abortion, yet at the same time desperately trying to determine if she could be a fit mother. Does she have the innate qualities of a mother instinct that is in every woman? Why didn’t she use birth control? What other options are out there? This film could not have come at a better time: although Norway and Germany have legalized abortion but from the looks of it, the US Supreme Court has decided 6 to 3 to back the more conservative party of Texas by deciding against any form of legalized abortion beyond six weeks Fortunately, we have other states that think differently. I was surprised to read that four states, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky and Louisiana had already passed bills which prohibit abortion after about six weeks. It’s hard to understand that I have no say over my own body. Who is supposed to raise the child: me or the state?
The film travels through different possible scenarios. I loved the energy of this film especially since nothing can make you happier than a comedy at a political film festival like the Berlinale. NINJABABY had its worldwide premiere in January at the 2021 Tromsø International Film Festival and then continued on to the Berlinale Filmfest in the Generation 14plus section.