DVD/Blu Ray

Raw (18) |Home Ents Review

Dir. Julia Ducournau, France-Belgium, 2016, 99 mins, subtitled.

Cast: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Nait Oufella, Laurent Lucas

Review by Colin Dibben

Sisterly love and rivalry comes with a splash or two of blood and cannibalism in the Blu-ray edition of Palme d’Or winner Julia Ducournau’s debut feature.

Justine (Marillier) starts her first year at veterinarian college in the shadow of her older sister Alexia (Rumpf), who is now a senior.

During a week of hazing rituals, Justine and her new bestie Adrien (Oufella) are subjected to extra unwanted attention, her because of sis, him because he’s gay and of north African descent.

Virgin, vegetarian Justine may have taken on more than she can handle with this course, especially when an accidental taste of blood leaves her increasingly hungry for red meat.

Raw is well worth a second look. I thought it was a bit ‘meh’ at the time, but then I’d been expecting a full-blown cannibal horror film, perhaps with some stylish Gallic obliques.

As with Ducournau’s Palme d’Or winning Titane, what you really get is a family drama, delivered with humour as well as some sick violence.

Justine and Alexia behave like old, intimate girlfriends and most of their scenes together are, dare I say it, pretty heart-warming in a slightly kooky way.

The humour comes from their relationship too – in fact it is hard to ascertain the profundity of the rivalry that develops after an unfortunate accident with some scissors during an intimate waxing session.

The oblique, Gallic, way of telling a story is there but leavened by the extreme energy of the hazing and party scenes.

Extras include:

  • The Girl Can’t Help It – a new interview with Garance Marillier
  • New audio commentary by film critic Alexandra West
  • Audio commentary with Julia Ducournau and film critic Emma Westwood
  • In the name of Raw – an interview with Julia Ducournau
  • A Family Affair – a new video essay by film critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Raw is out now on Blu-ray from Second Sight Films.