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This French thriller is a dark satire on college culture and meat consumption

Julia Ducournau’s Latest Body Thriller, Unsettling Fascinating Gem Titane, cementing her place as one of the most exciting voices in horror cinema. The film won the Palme d’Or at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, making Ducournau the second female director to win the festival’s top prize (and the first to win the award alone).

While Titane reinforced Ducournau’s fame as a horror filmmaker, her feature debut put her on the map back in 2016. Original stars G clear Marillier as a vegetarian named Justine, who attends veterinary school and develops a craving for the meat of various animals (including humans). The film uses a dark, gruesome horror story about cannibalism on a college campus to satirize the ritualism of college culture and the misadventures of the meat industry.

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Ducournau starts Original like many teen movies: Justine’s parents put her in college, where she’s excited to discover herself and follow her dreams. But things quickly turn black as she and the other freshmen are engulfed in a brutal weeklong ritual. Ducournau uses extreme examples of obscurity to highlight its savagery. The first-year students were embarrassed, humiliated, covered in blood, and forced to eat raw rabbit kidneys. After reluctantly giving up a vegetarian diet for a kidney, Justine gradually developed an insatiable appetite.



Justine eats a finger in Raw

After the “torture porn” craze since the 2000s, it seems unlikely a horror film depicting gore can still be potentially shocking. A variety of creepy Saw The sequel left horror audiences paralyzed with scenes of excessive gore. But with Original, Ducournau manages to bring back the shocking gore element. The film’s graphic content caused great controversy upon its release. When screened at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, two audience members reported fainting and had to be hospitalized.

Ducournau immediately asserted his directorial voice was uncompromising. Some horror filmmakers keep the horror intact, showing the monster in glimpses and lurking violence in the corners of the frame, but Ducournau’s style is quite the opposite. A movie like Original benefit from the feeling of “more is more” as opposed to the standard approach of the horror genre “less is more”. The real horror is Justine’s transformation from carnivorous curiosity to outright cannibalism. As she indulges in the cannibal feast, Ducournau’s camera refuses to turn away.



Justine bit her arm while having sex on Raw

The bloody terror of Original won Ducournau a place alongside directors such as Gaspar Noé and Alexandre Aja in discussions of “The New French Radical”. New French extreme is a term coined by Artforumby James Quandt to refer to the 21st-century French film movement seemingly determined to break any remaining cinematic taboos. In case OriginalTaboo broken is a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of cannibalism.

While Original is a master horror series from the cold opening to the startling, as with any great horror movie, there is a midpoint like Alienor’s chest Mentalmurder in the shower makes the movie overload. OriginalIts midpoint bend is as hilarious as it is unsettling. Justine’s sister, Alexia, is giving her a DIY bikini wax and grabbing a pair of scissors to cut off the wax. Fearful Justine instinctively kicked Alexia, causing her to accidentally cut off her own finger. Alexia fainted from the shock and in her initial panic, Justine called an ambulance to help her. As the ambulance arrived, Justine calmed down, took a few breaths, and then found her severed finger. She tasted the blood curiously and before long she was gnawing at her sister’s finger like chicken wings. Ducournau did not frame this as a cheap horror moment. It’s a long, gripping, gripping scene that captures Justine’s dark thought process.



Justine sniffs the chicken in the fridge in its live form

OriginalThe use of cannibalistic plot to satirize the meat industry is reminiscent of Tobe Hooper’s 1974 murder masterpiece. Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In the opening scenes of Hooper’s classic film, it can be seen that the Hardestys have been profiting from the slaughterhouses for years. Supply and demand for the flesh of sentient beings have always brought Sally’s family financial well-being. On a trip across Texas, she is tracked down by a family of cannibals in an ironic twist of fate. The best way to get a carnivore audience to identify with the cows and chickens they eat is to put them in their place.


In the press, Ducournau’s filmmaking style is defined by blood and bravery, but that narrow judgment is a bad influence on her ability to tell stories. In fact, her style is defined by its humanity. Her films explore what it means to be human through the lens of macabre horror. Like all the best horror directors, Ducournau tells the audience that the scariest monster is the one within us.

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