(Bertrand Bonello, France/Germany/Belgium 2016, 130 min., DCP, French w/subtitles)
Rochester Premiere | Primal Screen. Paris, the present. A group of adolescents methodically prepares a series of terrorist attacks in the French capital. The very idea of producing a film on a subject like this at a time when the world is struggling with political violence is controversial in itself, but director Bertrand Bonello—who directed the equally contentious 2014 biopic about Yves Saint Laurent—pushes the challenge even further by staging the events with the geometric mise-en-scène of a Stanley Kubrick work or with the aplomb of a George Romero horror story. The Shining, Dawn of the Dead, and a constellation of other cinematic references make this thriller a highly divisive yet compelling exercise in style, confronting the viewer’s expectations in an elegant, visceral, and unsettling moral tale. It could have been conceived by Robert Bresson, but it will keep you at the edge of your seat.
Special presentation by Paolo Cherchi Usai, Senior Curator, Moving Image Department.