Raw (French: Grave) is a 2016 French-Belgian horror drama film written and directed by Julia Ducournau, and starring Garance Marillier. The plot follows a young vegetarian's first year at veterinary school when she tastes meat for the first time and develops a craving for flesh.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Julia Ducournau|
|Produced by||Jean de Forêts|
|Written by||Julia Ducournau|
|Music by||Jim Williams|
|Edited by||Jean-Christophe Bouzy|
|Box office||$3.33 million|
The film premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival on 14 May 2016 and was theatrically released in the United States on 10 March 2017 by Focus World, and in France on 15 March 2017 by Wild Bunch. The film received critical acclaim, with praise for Ducournau's direction and screenplay, though was met with some controversy for its graphic content.
Lifelong vegetarian Justine begins her first semester at veterinary school, the same one her older sister Alexia is currently attending and where her parents met. Her first night, she meets her roommate Adrien, who is gay or bisexual, and is forced to partake in a hazing ritual, welcoming the new students. They are brought to a party, where Justine feels uncomfortable until she runs into Alexia. Alexia shows Justine old class photos of students bathed in blood, including one with their parents. The next morning, the new class is splattered with blood and are forced to eat raw rabbit's kidneys. Justine refuses, saying she is a vegetarian. Alexia encourages Justine to eat it by telling her she will like it. Justine still refuses. Alexia then takes two and eats them both, still unable to convince Justine. Alexia then forces one into her mouth so she will eat it; she walks out with Adrien gagging. Later that night, she discovers a strong, itchy rash all over her body. She goes to the doctor, who diagnoses her with food poisoning and gives her a cream for the rash.
The next day, Justine begins having cravings for meat, which makes her ashamed of herself. She and Adrien take a late-night trip to a gas station so no one will see her eating meat. Unsatisfied, she eats raw chicken in the morning, and later throws up a long bundle of hair. That night, Justine finds the same cream that the doctor gave her in Alexia's cabinet. Alexia gives her a bikini wax; when she tries to cut the wax off with sharp scissors, Justine kicks her away and Alexia accidentally cuts off her own finger. Shocked in horror, Alexia faints. Justine picks up the finger and tastes it. Justine ends up liking the taste and starts eating the finger. Alexia wakes up and is shocked when catching Justine eating her severed finger.
The next morning, Alexia takes Justine to a deserted road, where she jumps in front of a car, causing the car and the two people in it to crash into a tree. Alexia starts eating one of the passengers as Justine tries to stop her. Despite this, Justine's craving for human meat grows and she starts lusting after Adrien. That night, she arrives at a party, where blue paint is thrown at her as part of another hazing ritual and she is forced to make out with a boy painted yellow until they're painted completely green. As Justine and the boy do as dared, Justine mistakenly bites the middle of his bottom lip off, leaving the other party guests shocked in disgust as soon as he bursts out of the door in pain. After what happened in the paint party, Justine goes back to her dorm and takes a shower. During her shower, she picks a chunk of the boy's lip out of her teeth, which she then eats. Justine confides in Adrien and they end up having sex, during which Justine tries to bite Adrien. Justine then stops herself from her attempts and bites her own arm. Justine is relaxed as the blood runs from her arm. Disturbed, Adrien tries to ignore what she's just done and caresses Justine.
Later on during a party, Justine gets extremely intoxicated and Alexia takes her to the morgue. The next morning, everyone in school stares at Justine, some avoiding her. As an explanation, Adrien shows her a video of a drunken Justine crawling like an animal, trying to take bites out of the arm of a corpse, which Alexia pulls out of reach with a crowd of angry party guests booing and watching. Furious by what was seen from Alexia, Justine pushes Alexia in attempt to attack her, and the two fight. Alexia bites part of Justine's cheek off and they bite each other's arms, finally taking comfort in eating one another only to be pulled apart by two other students. Justine hits one of them with a backpack and helps Alexia up as they walk each other back to their dorms. That night, Justine sleeps with Adrien in his bed. The next morning, when Justine touches Adrien who seems to be asleep, she notices blood on her hand and pulls off the blankets, only to find Adrien dead with most of his right leg eaten and a stab wound in his back. Justine then sees a bloody and mostly catatonic Alexia slumped in the kitchen floor, revealing that she was the one who murdered Adrien. Furious, Justine picks up the bloodied sharp staff Alexia killed Adrien with, and walks up to her sister with an unpleasant stare, planning on killing Alexia with it. Justine puts the staff down and decides not to kill Alexia and simply cleans her up in the shower instead.
Alexia is imprisoned for the murder of Adrien, and Justine is sent back home. Despite everything, the two sisters appear to be on good terms. At home Justine's father tells her that what happened is neither her fault nor Alexia's. He explains that when he first met Justine's mother, he couldn't understand why she didn't want to be with him. He says that he finally realized the first time they kissed, indicating a scar on his lip. He proceeds to open his shirt, revealing scars and missing chunks of his chest and tells Justine that she will find a solution.
During a screening at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, some viewers received emergency medical services after allegedly fainting from the film's graphic scenes. Ducournau said she was "shocked" to hear this during a Q&A after the screening. The film won several awards in European film festivals, including the top prizes at the Sitges Film Festival, Festival international du film fantastique de Gérardmer, and the Paris International Fantastic Film Festival.
The film had a limited theatrical release in the United States by Focus World starting on 10 March 2017.
Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports a 91% approval score based on 145 reviews and an average rating of 7.8/10. The site's consensus states: "Raw's lurid violence and sexuality live up to its title, but they're anchored with an immersive atmosphere and deep symbolism that linger long after the provocative visuals fade." On Metacritic, it has an 81 out of 100 rating based on 33 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".
Catherine Bray of Variety wrote, "Suspiria meets Ginger Snaps in a muscular yet elegant campus cannibal horror from bright new talent Julia Ducournau." Katie Rife of The A.V. Club gave the film an A− grade, stating, "The strongest of the female-led films I've screened so far at the festival is Raw, Julia Ducournau's beautifully realized, symbolically rich, and disturbingly erotic meditation on primal hungers of all kinds."
David Fear of Rolling Stone praised the film highly, giving it a rare perfect score of 4 out of 4 stars; going so far as calling it "a contender for best horror movie of the decade".
For The Canadian Press, David Friend wrote from the Toronto International Film Festival that the film "had audiences squirming in their seats and a few queasy patrons rushing for the exits," but he noted it was "far more than a gory horror film. Director Julia Ducournau brings a sense of humanity to the story."
Nick Pinkerton of Sight & Sound gave a rather lukewarm review of the movie, labeling it "another unwieldy metaphor bundled in showy cinematography", citing the movie's "curatorial preciousness" as well as an overall insistence on contrived set pieces.
In December 2017, film critic Mark Kermode named Raw the best film of 2017.
- 2016: FIPRESCI prize in the "parallel sections" category, conferred by a jury of the International Federation of Film Critics for a film at either the Directors' Fortnight or International Critics' Week running parallel to the Cannes Film Festival.
- 2016: Toronto International Film Festival, third place in the audience voting for the Grolsch People's Choice Midnight Madness Award.
- 2016: Sutherland Award, for most original and imaginative first feature at the London Film Festival.
- 2016: The film won two awards at the Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival :
- Golden Octopus of the best international fantastic movie
- Public Choice Award of the best international fantastic movie
- 2016: Flanders International Film Festival Ghent : Explore Award
- 2017: Prix Louis-Delluc for best first film
- It received four nominations at the 8th Magritte Awards, winning Best Foreign Film in Coproduction and Best Production Design.
- 2018: Australian Film Critics Association nominated for Best International Film (Foreign Language).
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- "Raw (2017) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
- "Shoot about to kick off for Julia Ducournau's Raw". Cineuropa.
- Debruge, Peter (3 January 2017). "10 Directors to Watch: Julia Ducournau Reveals 'Raw' Side of French Cinema". Variety. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
- Brown, Todd (12 January 2017). "RAW: Watch The Hypnotic And Grotesque Red Band Trailer For Julia Ducournau's Acclaimed Debut". Screen Anarchy. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
- "Red Band Trailer Revealed For Julia Ducournau's Directorial Debut RAW". Horror Cult Films. 13 January 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
- Rebecca Ford (21 May 2016). "Cannes: 'Toni Erdmann,' 'Dogs' Take Fipresci Prizes". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 21 May 2016.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Tatiana Siegel (13 September 2016). "Toronto: Multiple Moviegoers Pass Out During Cannibal Movie 'Raw' Screening". www.msn.com. The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 29 March 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
- Adam Gabbatt (14 September 2016). "Cannibal horror film too Raw for viewers as paramedics are called". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
- "Raw Red Band and Green Band Trailers are Here!". 12 January 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
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- "Jason Momoa and Keanu Reeves rule the wasteland at Fantastic Fest". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
- "Unearthing the gems: Standout TIFF movies you might've missed | CTV News Toronto". toronto.ctvnews.ca. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
- Pinkerton, Nick (May 2017). "Raw". Sight & Sound. British Film Institute. 27 (5): 88–89. ISSN 0037-4806.
- Kermode, Mark (10 December 2017). "Mark Kermode: best films of 2017". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- "Maren Ade's "Toni Erdmann" Wins the Critics Prize in Cannes" (Press release). FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. 22 May 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
- "Toronto International Film Festival Announces 2016 Award Winners" (PDF) (Press release). Toronto International Film Festival. 18 September 2016.
The second runner up is Julia Ducournau's Raw.
- "60th BFI London Film Festival announces 2016 awards winners" (Press release). BFI. 17 October 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
- Belga (3 February 2018). "Cérémonie des Magritte: Carton plein pour "Insyriated", élu meilleur film, qui remporte 6 distinctions". La Libre Belgique (in French). Retrieved 4 February 2018.
- "The 2018 AFCA Awards". Australian Film Critics Association. Archived from the original on 14 March 2018. Retrieved 28 February 2018.