PICK Absurdistan: A Nonstop Charm Machine

A droll comic fable about a water shortage, a battle of the sexes, and the teenage lovers caught in the middle, Absurdistan doesn't have a ton of high-voltage laughs, but it's a nonstop charm machine. Living in a remote, tiny village in the hinterlands between Europe and Asia, Aya (Kristýna Malérová) and Temelko (Maximilian Mauff) long to consummate their relationship, but vow to wait four years until a date suggested by Aya's astrologist grandmother. When the day comes, though, Absurdistan's desert community is suffering from a drought brought on by a decaying irrigation pipe, which the community's lazy male population refuses to fix. So Aya organizes a female sex strike until the menfolk remedy the situation. The resulting gender war and Temelko's attempts to bring water to Absurdistan are decidedly low-stakes affairs, but director Veit Helmer (Tuvalu) is more interested in crafting a gently amusing modern-day folktale in which the happy ending is assured from the first moment Aya and Temelko beam at one another. As demonstrated by the film's low-grade special effects, Absurdistan makes a virtue out of modest, handmade storytelling without falling prey to cutesy self-indulgence, and Helmer gets astounding comic mileage out of the loutish stupidity of the village's very hairy men.

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