Writer: Julia Ducournau
DOP: Ruben Impens
Cast: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Laurent Lucas
When a young vegetarian undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school, an unbidden taste for meat begins to grow in her.
Both of her parents had studied in the same vet school and her elder sister is currently studying there. She is considered as a potentially brilliant student and like all 'studious' ones is somewhat an outsider. She is forced to eat rabbit's liver in its raw form during one of the hazing rituals and surprisingly enough, she digs it, even though she got an allergic reaction to it at first. A scissor related accident causes one of her sister's fingers to come off and she ends up eating it. Now, she is like a dog that tasted human flesh and can't help herself from having more. She then proceeds to learn that her sister had also undergone the same transformation in the college and it runs in the family.
This is the third film related to food habits that I've seen recently with Okja and The Bad Batch being the other two. It is basically a coming of age story with some sibling relationship as something which eats each other metaphor thrown in, in a literal manner. It is extremely visceral and stylishly shot with great use of pop music. We see the film from the point of view of the cannibal who turns into so with the trigger being the hazing related rituals. It is such a taboo subject in our society and it is rare to have a film that takes 'in their shoes' take on it. Even in Amirpour's 'The Bad Batch' it was approached as big bad 'they'. The ending of the film is necessary though it creates a few logical loopholes.
Body-horror is a sub-genre that is synonymous with the name David Cronnenberg. Even the ones that claim to belong to this genre these days concentrate more on horror/psychological aspects of it rather than treat them as a drama of sorts. Raw can certainly be categorised as a body-horror film in the Cronnenberg mould. It is a very good watch if you can stomach it, no pun intended. It did cause some faintings when it was screened at Toronto film festival. I do have to say that many of the cringy parts of it are the kind you watch half laughingly. It is titled as 'Grave' for its original France release.