A young man attempts to eat healthy for two weeks in this deadpan satirical short. Firmly lo-fi but wholly entertaining and original, the film is built around a hilariously tentative voiceover. Director Hunter Zimny plays the 20’s something man who is trying to turn his life around, “I wanted to feel better, so that’s why I decided to get…become healthy.” He starts to say “get”, but instead chooses, “become,” signaling from the top, we’re in unsteady territory.
Five days into his ordeal, he doesn’t feel any better so he ups the ante by visiting a spiritual adviser he finds online named Leaf. She opens the door in a kimono greeting him with an obligatory “namaste,” before spraying purification oils over his body and rubbing a baby hawk wing (“from Nebraska”) across his forehead. He never engages with the woman’s attempts, only interested in whether Leaf is her real name.
Zimny gets a lot of mileage from his skillfully awkward mannerisms. He has a special trait that makes the mundane seem ridiculous, and a shaky wit that feels incisive because it’s in service of a larger point about the fickle nature of humans, himself included.
Weaving in some flair with a couple well-placed old time tunes that punctuate moments of sarcastic character changes, like “and then it dawned on me,” spoken with a contradicting uncertainty, HEALTHY functions as a hollow loop, filled with provisional mission statements, pointing at a culture of quick fixes that never work. It’s funny stuff from a unique point of view made by a young filmmaker to watch.
Two more short films from director Hunter Zimny:
Watseka Dreaming: After witnessing an unsettling incident between a biker and a cab driver in New York City, a man returns home to visit his brother in Watseka, Illinois, a place “where you can trust your neighbor, where you can leave your door unlocked.” Exhibiting a similar dry sarcasm as Healthy, it’s another unique deconstruction of the documentary form & the way human beings search for meaning. Endearing & original. (8 minutes)
Paramus, New Jersey: The possible lives of two strangers eating at a White Castle in New Jersey. Thumbs up. (3 minutes)