The brains behind the French cannibal film that overwhelmed Toronto audiences shares her tricks for creating imperil, hair-raising torso horror
Julia Ducournaus debut feature film, Raw, attained headlines at Toronto last year when a couple of frightened audience members fainted in the cinema and an ambulance had to be called. All advertising is good advertising, but the administrator wasnt thrilled.
For me, its really something that I could have done without, Ducournau said in January in Paris, to tells a chamber full of press. Her film which opened the coming week in Australia had just screened; none of us fainted. I read it snowball on the internet for a few weeks subsequentlies, and theres pretty much nothing you can do about that. At one point people were talking about a movie that is not mine … My movies not a shocker, its not a blood fest; its more than that.
Ducournaus cannibal horror film is as much torso horror as it is black comedy and coming-of-age drama, and it uses the cinematic grammar of all three. Naive teen Justine( Garance Marillier) heads off to join her sister Alexia( Ella Rumpf) at veterinary college. As part of a brutal hazing, she is forced to eat a rabbit kidney and thats when the craves take hold.
The film is troubling, riveting, claustrophobic and darkly hilarious. The Guardian Peter Bradshaw was among many critics who praised it: What is very impressive about Raw is that perfectly everything about it is disquieting , not just the obvious instants of revulsion: there is no let up in the ambient background buzz of anxiety, he wrote.
At the Paris press event, Ducournau scrutinized a few of the techniques that had get her there.
I asked them to watch horror movies and booze beer
It should come as no surprise that a coming-of-age film about cannibalism, in which the protagonist is a virgin vegetarian wife, should be so much about flesh: the hating of it, the coveting of it, the grabbing and the biting of it. Key scenes revolve around intense physicality from the young performers, which signified the leadings needed to get to know one another, fast.
From the first day of the shooting, I wanted them to be completely OK with each others bodies, Ducournau told. Patently I didnt asking questions to get naked in front of each other Im not a tyrant or a perv but I did ask them to watch horror movies together.
Under Ducournaus orders, Marillier, Rumpf and Rabah Nat Oufella( who plays Justines gay roommate and enjoy concern, Adrien) gather together Marilliers house before hitting began to watch scary movies.
When you watch horror movies together it creates something very intimate, the administrator told. For her portion, she watches one a night. When youre intimidated, you tend to get a bit closer to the person next to you … and because they are different gender, it was[ especially] important to me that they were completely at ease with one another. Of course, I asked them to booze beer as well.