On Julia Ducournau’s Raw (2016)

by Kayann Mitchell

Debuting at Cannes and infamous for causing fainting spells during its screening at TIFF, Julia Ducournau’s meaty debut was bound to end up on my radar. I’d been chomping at the bit to finally see this French/Belgian gem. But I was crestfallen upon learning that Canada wouldn’t get a showing. I was hell bent, contemplating travelling to the States just so I could partake in this movie. Then the gods smiled down upon me and Vice offered up a screening at The Royal in downtown Toronto. Clearly I bought a ticket faster than you could say tartare. I awaited with abject glee for the night I’d finally see Raw.

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When we open we meet 16 year old Justine (Garance Marillier) a child prodigy on her way to veterinary school. A school that already houses her older sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf), who guides Justine through the trials and tribulations of first year hazing. Starting with an initiation in blood and the eating of a rabbit kidney. The later of which begins to completely unravel Justine’s carefully controlled world.

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And that y’all is all I will say about that. The less said the better. I walked into Raw knowing basically nothing, which is how it should be. I can not find the words to expound upon the feminist overtones and the subtleties that make Julia Ducoutnau’s debut film a mini masterpiece. There are those that have done it better than I could ever do. So I will just say that Raw is funny and sensual and yes, a bit graphic, but that doesn’t take away from all that’s being accomplished in this movie. Its smartness is a gift and you should all experience this movie if you have the good fortune to have it playing in your city. Go on. Shoo. Stop reading this and seek it out.

 

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