Irish Film Institute -THE BEAST (LA BÊTE)


Director: Bertrand Bonello

146 mins, France-Canada, 2023, Digital, Subtitled

An intoxicating, unclassifiable, centuries-spanning mélange of love, obsession, existential anxiety, and dystopian futurism, Bertrand Bonello’s visionary The Beast lays justifiable claim to being the most bracingly original French film of the year. We first encounter Gabrielle (Léa Seydoux), a woman plagued by a neurotic conviction that something awful, the titular beast, is waiting in her future, and Louis (George McKay), her admirer, in belle époque Paris, the first of several interconnected timelines. In 2014, she is an actor auditioning for a role whilst he appears as her incel stalker. In 2044, when human emotions are deemed a threat, Gabrielle must navigate her past lives to purify her DNA and excise her fear and unhappiness.

Notes by David O’Mahony

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