Mukbang – Short Film Review

In 2010 an online phenomenon called ‘Mukbang’ emerged from South Korea. ‘Mukbang’ pretty well translates to “food broadcast”, which is exactly what it is. People will sit and eat food in front of a camera, posting or streaming it online for others to watch. Over the past 10 years, Mukbang has evolved to feature people eating huge amounts of food and include ASMR with intense slurping, chewing and even moaning.

Emerging Australian actress Eliza Scanlen, star of Sharp Objects, Home and Away and Greta Gertwig’s Little Women, makes her writing and directorial debut with a quirky short film titled Mukbang. Nadia Zwecker stars as Annie, a young, awkward high schooler who doesn’t quite fit in, and has quite an obsession with online culture including anime and cosplay. When Annie stumbles across Mukbang she finds herself confused and uncomfortable after having a sexual awakening.

Nadia Zwecker is fantastic in her role as Annie, conveying a lack of confidence and great awkwardness for a young girl that finds herself as an outsider. Her confusion, shame and repulsion after watching her first Mukbang videos, and being caught by her sister at 3am, felt so authentic. Great kudos to Zwecker for her performance.

At just 21, I feel Eliza Scanlen is going to have a long and successful career ahead of her, both in front and behind the camera. With Mukbang she has crafted a short but authentic story, and brought it to the screen in a fantastic way with great vision. Scanlen also stars in the short as Chloe, and does a fantastic job portraying a young, confident and bubbly school girl, pretty much the opposite of Annie. The pair have a couple of scenes together and really worked great on screen.

Mukbang is many things, but most of all it’s just a whole bunch of fun, and a little throwback to high school and coming-of-age. We’ve all had our moments of discovery and I would say we can all relate to this film in some way. I thoroughly enjoyed it and really look forward to seeing Eliza Scanlen make her feature debut, which I’m sure it won’t be too far in the future.

Mukbang can be seen online as part of the Sydney Film Festival, running from June 10th to 21st.
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