The animals arrive by night. They intuit. They resist. A young man leads them to their deaths before dawn. His dog discovers a terrifying world that seems certain never to end.
A supremely heart-breaking and magnificent debut film from Maud Alpi that simultaneously channels the spirit of both Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Sacrifice into something resolutely of her own. The film’s main protaganist is Virgile, a drifter who can’t reconcile his meat consumption with his concern for the cows and pigs in the slaughterhouse where he’s working.
However the vigilant eye of his dog Boston, ultimately takes star billing and matches the unnerving beauty with which the film’s camera lovingly portrays his fellow creatures. With a title that translates from French to English as Throat Heart Belly, Alpi’s approach is ‘savage and mournful yet bracingly humanistic. While it alludes to Dante’s Inferno, it also celebrates the purity of flesh, the kind of naïve pleasure that humans are capable of when they shed their shame.’ (Ela Bittencourt – Frieze). Gorge Cœur Ventre is an elegy for animals that’s an absolutely compelling proposition.
Still Life Review
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