I can’t believe I forgot to nominate Finsterworld for a best movie Ursa Major award!
by Patch O'Furr
The Ursa Major nominations close on February 28. Send yours to support creativity. Here’s a choice that deserves recognition:
Finsterworld is far from well known. That’s too bad, because even though I gave it a lot of articles, I only just remembered to add it to my nominations. If you like smart movies and don’t hate foreign movies, seek it. (The Facebook page tells me it’s only shown once in Hollywood, and at international festivals where it got lots of awards.)
It’s likely to be the best furry-related feature film there is. I’m sure it’s the only depiction of a capital-f Furry that was ever a possible Oscar contender. (It was short-listed among Germany’s selections for Best Foreign Feature).
I’m not comparing it to huge things from Disney that are totally gateway movies, but aren’t informed by this tiny subculture. Finsterworld has a fursuiter who goes to furmeets. The director used actual fursuits, and research and advice from Germany’s Furry scene.
It’s one reason to recommend a movie, but the real reason isn’t for a Furry movie, it’s for a good movie.
Finsterworld is a very, surprisingly good movie. I had low expectations when a festival director solicited a review and sent me a private screener. I thought it would be just some average indie thing. Nope.
It’s good for qualities that Hollywood puts secondary to showboating and explosions. It’s smart human scale drama, with modest budget but high meaning. It’s entertaining with warm characters. But beneath the surface…
Finsterworld is very German. (“This might be one of the most German movies of all time.”) It’s full of Angst and alienation – not simple detachment, but philosophy about Social alienation. Like the concept inspired by German philosophers like Marx, who put compelling moral meaning behind hard-to-practice Socialism. “Individuals become estranged to themselves in the quest to stay alive, where ‘they lose their true existence in the struggle for subsistence'”. Most simply, it’s the paradox where the harder you work for a living, the less you get to live. That’s an empty feeling. This movie expresses it through characters who need to be touched, but can’t.
In Finsterworld, fur is softness and life. Society is the cold, painful, but necessary “chicken wire mother” (a thing that hurt monkeys who needed it, in Harry Harlow’s infamous psychology experiment, that helped spark the animal rights movement). The Furry is tragically repressed.
As we looked at Germans, how we felt after spending time in other countries, we saw that this is a culture of non-touching/non-contact. Then there came the Furry story, and with the furries it is about contact.
“Finster” means Dark. It’s a movie of ideas, like the deep dark universal Angst in every unhappy nation and family. It also has relatable performances and story, with shocking WTF comedy. The Furry character is only a minor part of a large ensemble of characters, so it’s not all about him – he’s just the heart.
Simple impressions may cause upset about “furry fetish” content. It doesn’t do sensationalizing. It’s very sincerely thoughtful. Reward the moviemakers.