Raw is a film that demands to be watched through the gaps between your fingers. It’s gruesome, vile, disgusting, and entirely entrancing.
In her debut feature film, would-be Cannes Palme d’Or-winner Julia Ducournau marches us through the swampy terrains of adolescence and female desire. Helmed by the talented Garance Marillier, we watch a young girl’s descent into madness and cannibalism after eating raw meat for the first time.
This film is absolutely not for the faint of heart, but it is a careful and articulate look into the deepest depths of human depravity and desire.
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10. The Beginning of Hazing
Within moments of arriving at her prestigious veterinarian school, it becomes clear that Justine (Garance Marillier) isn’t going to have an easy time fitting in. The older students, known as “the elders”, dedicate the first week of school to brutally hazing the “rookies.”
Ducournau perfectly sets the stage for this out-of-control school – the elders arrive in cloaks and ski masks, dragging the younger students out of their beds in the middle of the night. We see the younger students crawling like animals across an otherwise deserted campus as the mist envelops the quad.
Though this moment isn’t particularly brutal, it communicates the rules of this stilted society. You follow orders, you subject yourself to whatever torture in order to fit in. It’s a moment of dialed-up, tense drama in an otherwise familiar setting.
College hazing doesn’t feel so brutal if not done under Ducournau’s watchful eye. Ducournau expertly uses the unsettling and understated score to let us fully sink in to this bizarre world.
9. The Rabbit Kidney
Here we see Justine’s first moment of corruption.
She arrives a strict vegetarian at the orders of her mother, though she doesn’t completely know why. As part of the hazing ritual, all of the incoming students are forced to eat a rabbit kidney. Justine looks to her sister, Alexia (Ella Rumpf), for help, but Alexia insists that she eat the raw meat. It turns out Alexia has been disobeying their mother’s orders from the second she arrived on campus.
The rabbit kidney is a brilliant shift in Justine’s character. Through Garance Marillier’s restrained control of her emotions, we see a flicker of something in Justine. It isn’t monstrous yet, just the spark of an idea coming to light.
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