Lucile Hadžihalilović’s previous films, Innocence (2004) and Evolution (2015), have centred on children placed in unusual and possibly perilous environments. With this in mind, the appeal of polymath B. Catling’s novella, of which this is a faithful adaptation, is immediately apparent. In an unclear time and place, Albert (Paul Hilton), a man with preternatural hearing, acts as carer for 10-year-old Mia (Romane Hemelaers). His main responsibility is the regular replacement of her teeth with fresh ones of ice made from her own saliva. Although she never leaves their apartment, he makes regular visits to the local tavern to observe waitress Céleste (Romola Garai). Their routine is disrupted when Albert is instructed that his service has ended, and that Mia must be delivered to a new location, a journey that only adds to the haunting, oneiric air of dread that pervades the film.
Notes by Kevin Coyne