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Opens Fri, Apr 19

THE BEAST

  • Dir. Bertrand Bonello
  • France/Canada
  • 2023
  • 146 min.
  • NR
  • DCP

In French and English with English subtitles

  • Assistive Listening
  • Subtitled
  • Hearing Loop
THE BEAST
Fri, Apr 19 at 8:00pm: Introduction from Jason Shawhan, senior film critic for the Nashville Scene

The year is 2044. Artificial intelligence controls all facets of a stoic society as humans routinely “erase” their feelings. Hoping to eliminate pain caused by their past-life romances, Gabrielle (Léa Seydoux) continually falls in love with different incarnations of Louis (George MacKay). Set first in Belle Époque-era Paris, Louis is a British man who woos her away from a cold husband. Then, in early 21st century Los Angeles, he is a disturbed American bent on delivering violent “retribution.” Will the process allow Gabrielle to fully connect with Louis in the present, or are the two doomed to repeat their previous fates? Visually audacious director Bertrand Bonello (SAINT LAURENT, NOCTURAMA) fashions his most accomplished film to date — a sci-fi epic, inspired by a Henry James turn-of-the-century novella, suffused with mounting dread and a haunting sense of mystery. Punctuated by a career-defining, three-role performance by Seydoux, THE BEAST poignantly conveys humanity’s struggle against dissociative identity and emotionless existence.

See also: Permeable Membranes: Class, Community and Memory in the Films of Bertrand Bonello, a seminar led by Jason Shawhan, senior film critic at the Nashville Scene (Thu, Apr 18 | 6:30-8:00pm)

“A centuries-spanning sci-fi love story that answers the question What if Bertrand Bonello adapts Henry James by way of David Cronenberg and a general helping of Lynch’? Well, the result is THE BEAST and it is — I’m using this of course as the ultimate term of endearment and admiration — batsh*t crazy.” —Zhuo-Ning Su, Awards Daily

“It’s quite evident anyway that Bonello isn’t out to shallowly feminize a masculine-centered parable. If anything, both Gabrielle and Louis, and the superb performers playing them, have a doll-like interchangeability that makes THE BEAST seem like a punk-philosophical reworking of Greta Gerwig’s BARBIE.” —Keith Uhlich, Slant Magazine

“It’s as purely sci-fi as cinema gets. Each image and piece of music binds the past and future together in stirring, thought-provoking ways, turning them both into the now. In penning such a wide-reaching adaptation, one that runs the entire gamut of human emotion, Bonello crafts a perfect cinematic microcosm of being alive, in all its joys and miseries, on the constant edge of oblivion.” —Siddhant Adlakha, Polygon

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