DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

Beasts (La Terre des Homes)

Director - Naël Marandin - 2020

"Dirty gem"
The subtle machinations of sexual abuse and deeply rooted patriarchal power structures are the central pillar of this quiet French drama - from the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival

QUICK SNAP: LIVE FROM TALLINN

Timid and delicate 25-year-old Constance (Diane Rouxel) works in a cattle-breeding farm somewhere in rural Burgundy. She is about to marry the equally quiet and demure Bruno (Finnegan Oldfield), who works in the same facilities. They don’t have much money, and they could lose their job and their lifeline if Constance’s project application at the Farm Board is rejected.

The local agricultural chairman Sylvain (Jalil Lespert) sets out to help Constance, but he has a vested interests in the young woman. He forces himself upon her when she’s most vulnerable. An easy prey, it seems. Constance hardly budges as he kisses and touches her body, her eyes glistening with fear. At one point she vocalises a feeble “no”, but this is not enough to stop Sylvain. He does not perceive his actions as rape. A few days later, they have another yet sexual encounter. The helpless Constance does not know how to get out of the insidious power game.

Constance and Bruno hold a very low-key ceremony for their wedding. The only guests are a handful of friends, Sylvain, his wife and children. Once again, Sylvain attempts to prey on Constance. Bruno briefly witnesses the interaction and assumes that his wife is cheating on him. Constance is so inexperienced and vulnerable that she is unable to elucidate what happened. Instead, she feels guilty.

Eventually, Constance learns how to operate the power structures to her benefit. She files a rape complaint against Sylvain. But this isn’t a smooth and straightforward case. Constance has no evidence against the powerful man, and the police have to rely entirely on their statements. At one point, Constance and Sylvain are interviewed together, in the film’s most dramatic and powerful sequence. Could she turn the tables and prove to her rural community that this seemingly honourable patriarch and executive violated her? Will the old-fashioned power structures prevail? Must Constance remain permanently relegated to the victim role? The final answer to all of these questions is pleasantly surprising.

Animals have a pervasive symbolism throughout this realistic and effective little drama. The titular beasts are both the men and the bovines that Constance has to handle. At one point, the local farmers lock Constance in a pen and mock the various parts of her body, comparing her to a cow. Men indeed behave like beasts. They are unabashed and unrepentant breeders.

Beasts is showing in the Official Competition of the 24th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.



"Dirty gem"

By Victor Fraga - 19-11-2020

By Victor Fraga - 19-11-2020

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based writer with more than 15 yea...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
A small family of four lives in a [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Holidaying in Cambodia with Isaac (Ross McCall), Ben [Read More...]

Read More

Persian Lessons

Vadim Perelman
2021

Arun A.K. - 20-01-2021

A Jew pretends to be Persian in order to avoid death in a concentration camp, only to be forced to teach the language over which he has no command - out on Friday, January 22nd [Read More...]

Baby Done

Curtis Vowell
2021

Eoghan Lyng - 18-01-2021

Professional tree climber Zoe is set to travel overseas, when a pregnancy changes everything she's worked for in her life - New Zealand comedy is on Digital on Friday, January 22nd [Read More...]

The Exception (Undtagelsen)

Jesper W. Nielsen
2021

Charles Williams - 18-01-2021

Four women work together in an NGO, in this Danish psychological thriller and interesting study of workplace bullying - on VoD on Friday, January 22nd [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *