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The Independent Critic

Nina Hukkinen, Milka Ahlroth
Pia Andell
16 Mins.

 "Matchen" Screens as Finalist at Indy Shorts 

There seems to be an unwritten rule that if a film crosses my desk from Finland, I love it. 

It's happened again with writer/director Pia Andell's 16-minute short film Matchen (The Match), a finalist narrative feature short during this week's Indy Shorts International Film Festival going on in Indianapolis and virtually. 

The story centers around two middle-aged women, Hanna (Nina Hukkinen) and Johanna (Milka Ahlroth), who've arrived for a friendly game of tennis that turns into a rather intense competition...until the women find out they have something in common. 

Andell's story here is simply amazing, a seemingly basic set-up brought beautifully to life thanks to two spot-on performances from Hukkinen and Ahlroth. You can feel Hukkinen's tension as Hanna right away. She's initially the less competitive of the two, a woman who can't quite seem to believe she's even there and we're not completely sure she wants to be. Ahlroth's Johanna, on the other hand, is clearly out to win but as the competitive spirit rises between the two and tensions rise it becomes perfectly clear that there's a whole lot more going on than tennis. 

Both Hukkinen and Ahlroth are fantastic, gradually peeling away the layers of their characters and giving, I'd dare say, both women exactly what they're actually needing from the experience. Winner of Best Short Film at the Weyauwega International Film Festival, Matchen is a sublimely written story with engaging lensing by Antti Ruusuvuori and an original score by Timo Hietala that keeps rhythm with the back-and-forth pacing of this emotional and athletic endeavor. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic