My Stuff, the debut feature from Finnish director, Petri Luukkainen, is a quasi-documentary and we join Petri – director and subject – as he embarks upon his experiment to forgo his possessions for one year.
The film begins with Petri feeling rather glum – having recently been dumped. He ponders why he feels so unhappy, but rather than blaming this upon the loss of his partner – the natural conclusion, surely? – Petri decides it’s his stuff’s fault; his consumerist obsession has led to him to ‘lose his smile’. Poor Petri.
The film begins with Petri running naked through the streets of Helsinki; free from the shackles of consumerism, off to retrieve his first item from the big green storage unit, where all his corrupting purchases lie in wait. Plotting.
Petri’s plan isn’t quite as simple as merely giving up his worldly possessions for one year; he has rules. So to begin, everything – and I mean everything – Petri owns is put into storage for one year, he cannot buy any new things but he can reclaim one item from storage, per day. The dilemma then, is what to reclaim.
My Stuff isn’t a terrible film but neither is it a terribly good documentary. It seems to have decided from the outset that humanity would be a lot happier if ‘we’ weren’t so reliant upon purchasing useless junk and instead, focused upon friendship, companionship and ultimately, love. The film’s central message seems to be, that without love you will live a miserable existence, which in itself is a fairly miserable statement.
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This of course could be tempered, if there was some sort of commentary upon consumerism, but there isn’t; it’s just Petri looking mopey, and then happy when he meets Maija and they start boffing. Yay! Boffing, everyone likes boffing.
My Stuff is one man’s story and that can be fine when backed up with an interesting topic that is explored thoroughly – see Super Size Me (Spurlock, 2004) – but there’s too little substance for this to be considered anything more than a glorified video diary. Petri’s documentary then, is as superficial as the stuff he covets.
My Stuff is released on March 28th and is distributed by day for night. Here’s the trailer: