Director Kaire Russ is an international filmmaker from Estonia. Her short film, Grandma, Meet Mary, is a comedy-drama about an ordinary Estonian family facing generational differences as they gather together to celebrate the grandmother’s 80th birthday party with a feast.
The main protagonist, Verve, is a perfectionist who is obsessed with making sure that her mother’s birthday is a traditional family celebration. When her niece Silvia arrives with a surprise guest (her same sex partner, Mary,) Virve is thrown off.
Tension arises around the dinner table as the aunt and uncle freeze in fear and anticipation of conflict, while the grandmother and grandfather remain blissfully unaware, remembering Mary as a childhood friend of Silvia’s.
While Silvia musters the courage to introduce Mary as her girlfriend to her grandparents, Virve is intent on making sure they don’t experience shock at discovering the truth of Silvia’s relationship.
The film strikes a perfect balance between comedy and drama, expertly portraying the unspoken tension that is surely present in so many family dynamics all over the world.
Subtle comedy is always a great way to tackle delicate themes of generational conflict and the shifting of cultural norms, and Kaire Russ’s short film succeeds excellently here.
As the film builds to an inevitable climax, the family and the audience hold their breath wondering how the central matriarch grandmother will react to the revelation.
The film is a powerful way to express this relevant issue in contemporary Estonia. Kaire Russ is a filmmaker who looks to film as a powerful tool to influence and express. When she moved back to Estonia in 2018, she was shocked by the lack of social acceptance towards same sex couples – this entertaining and enlightening family story is a result of that experience.
Watch Grandma, Meet Mary Short Film Here: