“What Times Mosquitos Are Sleeping?” follows two friends in their daily exploits. One of them earns what little money he can by driving an Uber. He has a strong obsession with Ironman, and collects knock off toys of the superhero, unable to afford officially licensed merchandise on his modest salary. The other friend is an absent minded student, who stays disconnected from most of those around him. Instead, he idles away his time roaming around campus and fields, looking for mosquitoes.
Petrus Kristianto’s short film works best as an unconventional comedy surrounding the interactions between two friends. The main characters are outlandish and over the top, without going to a level that makes them feel annoying or too unrealistic. Both of the actors’ feel as if they are playing slightly exaggerated characters of themselves, or perhaps someone they know. Many would refer to the two protagonists as “lovable nerds”. They have their quirks which make them stand apart from their peers, but not too outlandish, they seem sociable and could easily fit in a crowd of fellow eccentrics. The performances do feel personalized to either exaggerated versions of the actors true selves, or perhaps someone they know well in life. So although the two male leads do a good job, it is hard to offer too much praise in performances that feel so close to the actors own personality. I will admit if this is a misreading of character, than I would say the performances are well executed.
Technically, the film does show a team, but it is apparent there is some room for approval. Every aspect of the production is serviceable, there are just a few scenes that could have used more visual punctuation in order to sell the comedic moments. There is a reveal where one character appears as a mosquito in a field, it is a delightful image, somewhat marred by not being that well lit and having the camera set a bit too far away to get expression or costume detail. Overall, the cinematography is a bit static with each scene seeming to come from a single angle/shot.
The soundtrack does not help the overall presentation, it is whimsical, but sounds like stock music. Although, obviously this is forgivable on a smaller production, but a lot of smaller productions expand their music a bit, and I would have loved to hear something that complimented the comedic tone a bit more. However, there are no scenes or moments that felt they were crafted poorly, more so that there could have been some different choices to help enhance the comedic tone that could have been deployed. There is potential for growth here, and I would hope to see some continued growth.
One important aspect of the production rests within the pacing. It is tediously slow with certain shots just lingering way too long. However, through my experience, this actually added a fair amount of comedy, so it was kind of a mix of awkward build to great pay off. As a fan of low budgeted productions this kind of slow build high payoff writing is common in movies which often fall under “So Good They Are Bad” territory. But this is a statement I make more so to exemplify the joy I got from this production in regards to pacing issues. Whether it was the intention of the filmmaker or not is a bit harder to tell. But viewing the film as an end product, I loved the pacing on this production. I wish I could give away a few of the moments I had a deep laugh over, but within the film’s short duration I don’t really want to give away and of the gags.
“What Time Mosquitos Are Sleeping” for me acted as the ideal short comedy film. Even within it’s faults, there is a certain amount of charm. Throughout the entire production you can feel the sincerity of the filmmakers into the production. Working within smaller crews on a lower budget seems to create a sense of camaraderie that can come through on these smaller productions. I laughed a lot throughout the short run time of this production, it was a pleasant surprise, to say the least. If Petrus Kristianto is able to refine the technical aspects of the production into a cleaner, more accessible product, I could see his comedic styling appealing to a large audience.