Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets Little Shop of Horrors in the first English-language foray from Austrian arthouse auteur Jessica Hausner. Focusing on a genetically engineered plant ("Little Joe") designed to give its caretakers a sense of euphoria, the film stars the remarkable Emily Beecham and Ben Whishaw as the biotechnology researchers responsible for this marvelous creation. For a while, all is well. But it’s not long before strange occurrences begin cropping up…
Boasting eye-popping production design recalling ’70s sci-fi specials, meticulous neon-lit compositions, and one of the most singular, atonal scores you will ever hear (from composer Teiji Ito), this genre outing is a veritable feast for the senses. With her off-kilter sense of humour and distinct feel for performance (similar to that of VIFF favourite Yorgos Lanthimos), Hausner delights as surely as she discomfits, delivering a conceptually audacious parable about how people choose their own happiness. This mesmerizing, nerve-jangling psychological horror film is sure to get under your skin.
"Hausner works in a shivery and deliberate modernist spook-show style… that calls up echoes of early David Cronenberg and the Stanley Kubrick of The Shining." - Owen Gleiberman, Variety
Best Actress, Cannes 19