With female self-harm having hit the headlines recently, this feature debut from sometime François Ozon collaborator Marina de Van could hardly be more topical. Far from being prurient, however, it's a sensitive, cerebral study in bodily disconnection, as poignant as it is unblinking and visceral.
De Van herself is gripping as the feral Esther, a research analyst who gashes her leg at a party and, feeling no pain, starts testing her body's limits by hacking at her flesh and, er, chewing it. Her friends and boyfriend are shocked and bewildered (as well they might be). But as horrific as the physical tearing is, it's nothing compared to the film's raw, emotional bite.
Granted, de Van is more interested in the actual skin itself than the motivations beneath it, but the lack of crude psychologising only serves to make her piece more immediate and stretching. Best watched on an empty stomach, it's horror brain food David Cronenberg would be proud of.
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