Raw Screen 18 articles



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    Sight & Sound: Nick Pinkerton
    March 31, 2017 | May 2017 Issue (pp. 88-89)

    Even the densest viewer can puzzle out that this rigmarole is meant to pertain to the squeamish process of sexual awakening... An excruciating curatorial preciousness afflicts the whole affair, more showroom than film, its purported depths impossible to see past the glare of the vitrine—or is it a specimen jar? Bloodletting abounds, but nothing punctures the surface.

  • Whether it’s wide or close-up—Ducournau alternates between the two—shots are clipped. During an introduction at a recent “Rendez-Vous with French Cinema” screening at New York's Film Society at Lincoln Center, Ducournau talked about how efficiency isn’t a bad word. Where she sees efficiency, I see scenes that are streamlined, smoothing out and pulling up emotional beats. Raw is torn between being an abstract and lyrical film, and one that’s more psychologically grounded and character-driven.

  • The Semaine de la critique, whose specific remit is precisely to unearth fresh filmmaking talent, featured a couple of notable discoveries: Julia Ducournau’s vegan cannibalism film Grave (Raw) garnered a significant amount of interest...

  • Throughout Raw, Ducournau exhibits a clinical pitilessness that's reminiscent of the body-horror films of David Cronenberg, often framing scenes in symmetrical tableaus that inform the various cruelties and couplings with an impersonality that's ironically relieved by the grotesque intimacy of the violence.

  • Ducournau's style often seems to exist for its own sake, trading in commanding long shots and color combinations that conjure up a potent atmosphere that's more easily felt than understood. Raw is being marketed as an art film whereas The Belko Experiment is being sold as a genre exercise—it's also getting better reviews—but I'd argue that the ostensible genre exercise has more to say about the world we live in than Durcournau's admittedly original feat.

  • Yes, there is a certain gore factor, but most of it is of the sort one would see in your standard abattoir. (Director Julia Ducournau excuses herself from some of the human carnage by setting the film in a veternary academy.) So Raw, title notwithstanding, is more on the Cooked side of the Lévi-Straussian equation than something like, I don't know, Martyrs. Frankly, I think Ducournau's film is all the better for it. This sense of restraint goes hand in hand with an interest in exploring themes.

  • It’s normal, in a sense, for a film such as Raw to jump from body issues to family issues to social issues, and then do the full circle all over again. This keeps things in motion and maintains intrigue and speculation... But – here’s the temptation to hysteria in this structure – it also has the potential to generate incoherencies and confusions... Despite these reservations, Raw is a confident and striking debut feature. Ducournau will be a figure to follow.

  • This is as much about internal awakening as it is about social initiation, which intrigues me for some reason. I like the center stretch of this most, when the sexual and cannibalistic urges on one hand and the social rituals grounded in consumption and sex on the other all seem to be collapsing into each other—it’s disarmingly intense, and needn’t be original to be so.

  • Its feminist take on body horror is unfailingly confrontational, and it also passes the Bechdel Test with flying colours. Currently urgent themes of young women’s body image and the violence of peer pressure are interwoven to smartly provocative effect. As female body horror, this would make a terrific double bill with 2002’sDans Ma Peau, the more artily glacial flesh-eater pic from Marina De Van (in which Lucas also appeared).

  • A cleverly written, impressive made and incredibly gory tale of one young woman’s awakening to the pleasures of the flesh – in all senses of the term. Marking the feature debut of French director Julia Ducournau, who leads a terrific young cast into a maelstrom of blood, guts and unfettered sexual awakening, this Cannes Critics’ Week selection should become a hot potato (or is that a meatball?) at the market while propelling its talented creator into the spotlight.

  • Ducournau’s extraordinary first feature is a heady, blood-soaked examination of femininity, sexual awakening and the sisterly bond... Ducournau’s control of her material is masterful. The script is at once fiercely original and replete with a rich awareness of the genre, smoothly referencing films from Carrie to Ginger Snaps and The Craft. Marillier is excellent, playing Justine with a subtlety and assurance that grounds the film, even at its most extreme.

  • Carnivorism flows into carnality, as Raw freshly conveys the reckless sensual abandon of Justine’s tearing into her independence. Delving into brutal sibling rivalry through gamine older sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf), Ducournau’s bloodily antic plot keeps one foot planted in heightened realism rather than settling into a vampiric rut, and therefore keeps us guessing about just how far things will go.

  • Wild, gross and funny, then at some point it falls apart and gets by solely on stylistic verve. Bonus points for cameos by helpful bulimic girl in bathroom and fake-dentured gnome in the hospital.

  • It examines sex and cannibalism with an eye to the experimental, but it does so with an infectious compassion for its characters and a confident, poppy style. Without shying from the visceral, Ducournau crystallizes the ache of adolescence and eschews the leery pitfalls that so many male-directed films about budding female sexuality slip into. Which is not to say that Raw isn’t an exploitation film at heart – it has cheap thrills to spare and executes them effortlessly.

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    Film Comment: Margaret Barton-Fumo
    March 03, 2017 | March/April 2017 Issue (pp. 43-45)

    Teeth gnawing on raw meat, mouths sucking fresh blood, and tender kisses that quickly turn into vicious bites: these images of carnage punctuate the beautifully shot scenes found throughout the film... Love is painful in Raw, bloody and even deadly—but above all it is worthwhile. Raw pulls its shock value from clashes within deftly realized relationships, but when compared to other models of "extreme" cinema, the biggest surprise of all is its tenderness.

  • “Raw,” Julia Ducournau’s jangly opera of sexual and dietary awakening, is an exceptionally classy-looking movie about deeply horrifying behavior. Infusing each scene with a cold, unwelcoming beauty, the Belgian cinematographer Ruben Impens makes his camera complicit in the trashy goings-on. Sneaking beneath bedsheets and sliding over young flesh, his lens takes us places we may not want to go.

  • As it moves along, Raw gradually gathers into a veritable fury of bloodshed and sexual abandon, as Justine loses her virginity to the gay Adrien, Alexia offers her own lessons on the cannibalistic practices that turn out to be a family inheritance, and all the while the film earns extra credit for its packed-party choreography.

  • The film's bursts of intensity are memorable not because of the level of carnage they feature, but courtesy of the concepts they showcase. It’s repulsive not just because it depicts something that people instinctively recoil from, but because the movie demands that you experience it alongside its doe-eyed heroine as she reluctantly finds herself shifting toward being a predator.

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