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Directed by Julia Ducournau

Belgium, 2016

HOME, 20 April 2017


This is the story of Justine (played by Garance Marillier), a sweet girl, a vegan who acquires a taste for meat.

During a domestic accident there is a gross (I will not say tasteless) incident involving her sister Alexia’s (the very beautiful Ella Rumpf) finger and, at the very end, there is an obvious payoff. But it is a fun film, seductive, full of black and bloody humour.

While watching it, I thought of the fifth rule of Jan Svankmajer’s Decalogue (you can read the full text in Vertigo magazine here) where he states that film-makers, despite cinema being a visual or audiovisual medium, should prioritise the body over the eye: ‘Always trust the body, because touch is an older sense than sight.’ The aim should be to create cinema that has a haptic, visceral dimension rather than simply placid, painterly qualities. It is one view – there are other, very different approaches to cinema, of course. However, it is clear that this is what horror films tap into; and it is key to why they appeal or repel.

Raw is, anyway, a full-blooded embodiment of Svankmajer’s imperative. It is red in tooth and claw.