SHORT FOCUS 2018: Kukukid AW2018 [Adrian Chudek, Poland, 2018]
Kukukid AW2018, an advertisement for a Polish brand of children’s clothing, bursts onto the screen with a bright shot of energy as impossibly pristine children frolic through a charmingly old-fashioned school. In their gaggle of paradoxically polished raucousness, they ransack every room while somehow managing not to break a single thing.
‘Rebel but cute’ is the tagline for this clothing line, and anyone who has ever been in contact with children for mere moments will know the laughable optimism of this phrase. The manicured rambunctiousness of this minute-long mayhem glosses over the inevitable mess of caked mud, smeared snot and miscellaneous goo that seems to come from nowhere but sears into the fabric forever.
But, of course, this is an advertisement and we should expect no less. If you trust that Kevin Bacon really cares about your 3G or that car insurance is run by randomly Slavic meerkats, you will be bitterly disappointed.
One thing that calls for criticism is the lack of diversity amongst the children. Skinny white kid after skinny white kid is all too often the status quo, not just for children’s clothing, but in the fashion industry in general. A disabled mannequin in a bridal shop window was recently circulated and applauded online and, while this is obviously no bad thing, representation that goes beyond white, slim and able-bodied should not be so rare that it makes the news. Advertisements like this one waste an opportunity to fight against commonly unattainable portrayals of ‘normal’.
In spite of its harmful homogeneity and obliviously explicit idealism, Kukukid AW2018’s irresistibly peppy soundtrack, dreamily dusky setting and stampeding herd of tiny joyous faces sells a slice of impeccably dressed pre-teen perfection. And who, in all honesty, could possibly resist that?
'Kukukid AW2018' was part of the official selection at Short Focus Film Festival 2018.