• Name: Grave (RAW)
• Year: 2016
• Country: France, Belgium
• Director: Julia Ducournau
• Main cast: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Nait Oufella
• Runtime: 99 minutes
• Production company: Petit Film, Rouge International, Frakas Productions
Grave, aka RAW (as it’s been called in english, I guess to avoid meaning confusion, since “grave” is also a french word that means “serious”), may have been one of the horror movies of 2016. The directorial debut of Julia Ducournau turned out to be a surprising feature film, acclaimed wherever it goes, and with a well deserved amount of praises.
The plot: a girl goes to university to start a career as a vet. Coming from a vegetarian family, in the hazing of the first days she gets to taste flesh for the first time in her life, which will awake in her something unexpected. With a fresh and powerful script, Ducournau serves us pure, ‘raw’ entertainment. From the first to the last scene, the plot thrives and keeps us in the mood, between shocks and beautiful images. We’ll get to see the evolution of the protagonist (well played by Garance Marillier) in that early university context where adolescence still fights its way to conform a young woman’s character and taste, and one has already a lot to deal with to have to think also about cannibalism.
Combining parallelisms on food and sexual appetite, writer and director Julia Ducournau plays with us as the good scripts do, also thinking about family, secrets, bonds and bounds, and how growing up means sometimes to get to know oneself again, and to discover how to adapt oneself to keep fitting into society.
The french director, who presented in 2011 a short film named Junior and already won the Petit Rail d’Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, can now add many prizes to her early collection, including for best direction and best feature length film, and no less than 3 prizes from the Sitges Film Festival 2016 (among which the Citizen Kane Award for Best Directorial Revelation & Méliès d’Argent for Best Feature Length European Film). I agree both the story and her direction are worth them all.
I usually like to keep an eye on details and camera techniques a film is using, but in this one, at some point I just forgot about it. I got completely absorbed by it, which I believe is a very positive thing and demonstrates a good plot construction and the film’s success on keeping the spectator seated and expectant until the very end. A brilliant piece that hopefully will only be the beginning of Julia Ducournau’s contribution to cinema history.
IMDB URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4954522
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