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Little Joe

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


Director Jessica Hausner
Country of Origin: Austria/UK/Germany
Year: 2019
Running Time: 105 mins
Format: DCP
Language:In English
Related Links: Review
Cast: Emily Beecham, Ben Whishaw, Kerry Fox, Kit Connor, David Wilmot, Phénix Brossard, Sebastian Hülk, Lindsay Duncan
Producer: Bruno Wagner, Bertrand Faivre, Philippe Bober, Martin Gschlacht, Jessica Hausner, Gerardine O’Flynn
Screenwriter: Jessica Hausner, Géraldine Bajard
Cinematographer: Martin Gschlacht
Editor: Karina Ressler
Production Design: Katharina Wöppermann
Music: Teiji Ito
Production Company: Coop99; The Bureau; Essential Films
Distributor: Mongrel Media Inc.

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