This weird short film by Daria Martin follows a silent, fasting performer. They are part of a stage show, and although they seemingly have a torturous job, they are upset when their fasting is limited to forty days, and when the show closes; they are drawn to continue their horrid work. They then work in the circus, and appear to die at the end, after a lifetime of suffering with occasional slight positive feedback. Is it a comment on the difficulties of life as an artist, never being appreciated or making money? A comment on the artist being in the public eye and becoming the artwork?
A brief google search highlights that A Hunger Artist was originally a short story from 1922 by Franz Kafka. It apparently explores themes of ‘futility’. This comes across, as the story as a whole is quite pathetic. In fact, as the protagonist lies dying at the end, he undermines any heroism he may have been demonstrating by saying he only fasts because she doesn’t like food. The comparison of the person to the panther (his replacement) shows that the spectators preferred watching something more full of life, animalistic and hungry; the antithesis of the hunger artist.
The film echoed the circus in general, in the colours and excitement of the piece. It had a clear narrative and was a higher budget film than some of the others seen in screenings.