Raw ★★★★½

Magnificent. Here is a film that defies genres and refuses to be pigeonholed. Billed by many as a shock horror gore fest (with nonsensical reports of viewers fainting and being ill on viewing it), cited by some as a black comedy and critiqued by others as a post-feminist comment on gender and sexuality, this film is not one that fits any of those bills square on but certainly flirts with each of them.

As usual, I won't describe the plot as all films should be seen 'blind', but there is plenty going on between the lines to discuss thematically. Many points are raised, discussed or questioned throughout the 100 minutes that the film lasts, a time which flies by thanks to some incredible performances none more so than the lead Garance Marillier. It discusses sexuality, in particular maintaining/losing virginity, body awareness (should we lose weight to meet the on looking demands of others?), the seeking of and quest for independence versus the reality of the need to confirm to progress in life, plus many other themes that unravel as the film progresses.

Just as with Jorge Michel Grau's 2010 film Somos Lo Que Hay (We Are What We Are), director Julia Ducournau uses the taboo theme of cannibalism to push the audience to consider individual identity as seen by someone who considers themselves as the ultimate teenage paradox of simultaneously wanting to be left alone whilst being recognised at the same time. However, rather than just rely on all of the same tropes as Grau, Ducournau makes many visual references to the likes of Cronenberg, Ferrera and others whilst retaining her own independent ideas to create a film that is as visually sumptuous to the viewer as some of the foodstuff are to our anti-hero.

All of this, combined with an inventive use of sound and music, has created a film that has got me still thinking about it a couple of hours after viewing it, as I am sure I will for many weeks to come.

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