In this satirical short film by Rikke Gregersen, an unprecedented situation aboard a plane causes tension and chaos. The story centers around a flight out of Norway just as the passengers are settling into their seats. During the boarding process, one woman discovers that another of the passengers is going to be deported to Afghanistan due to his refugee status. She refuses to sit down in protest.

What is clever about this amusing and thought provoking film is the narrative choice the writer, Trond Arntzen and director, Rikke Gregersen make – to reveal the action only through the bystanders observing and reacting to the commotion. We see the reactions of the pilot, the flight crew and other passengers, but never actually focus on the passenger in question being deported, or the passenger standing up in protest.

Balancing heavy themes of social justice and immigration with humour is a wise choice. That way we get to actually think about what we might do in the same situation. The film is only 12-minutes long but in that time it certainly takes a long hard look at passive outrage and takes a little dig at the concept of virtue signalling in our society.

As Rikke herself commented in a recent interview, not having direct insight into what it is like to be deported, she preferred to tell the story from the perspective she is closer to – that of a bystander. As this is also likely the same perspective as most of those who watch this film, it works to really get people questioning their own actions through skilful storytelling and black humour.

The Affected is certainly not a ‘preachy’ film by any standards, but rather an effective way to present important social ideas and scenarios to the audience in a relatable, and powerful way.

The film made its Sundance premiere and played at many festivals, from which it garnered several awards and honors.

Watch The Affected Short Film Here: