Raw (Grave)

Julia Ducournau

France, Belgium, 2016 / 98 min / French OV with English subt. / Drama,Horror

Love and cannibalism: carnal desires.

All the members of Justine’s family are veterinary surgeons, as well as vegetarians. At 16, she’s a brilliant and promising student. When she starts at veterinary school, she enters a decadent, merciless and dangerously seductive world. During the first week of hazing rituals, desperate to fit in whatever the cost, she strays from her family principles when she eats raw meat for the first time.

Justine will soon face the terrible and unexpected consequences of her actions as her true self begins to emerge.


Writer-director Julia Ducournau's first feature is impressively lean and confident, grounded by Marillier's ferocious performance. Ducournau always knows where she's leading her hungry protagonist, and she punctuates the tense coming-of-age story with moments of brutality and gore. The outcome may prove disturbing even for seasoned horror fans, thanks to the work of French FX master Olivier Afonso. “Raw” is a bold and bloody exploration of womanhood. (Colin Geddes, Toronto International Film Festival).

Thu 09/03 20:30 Cinémathèque FR OV with EN sub. Public
Sat 11/03 19:00 Ciné Utopia FR OV with EN sub. Public

“Julia Ducournau is a 33-year-old first-time feature director who makes her worryingly brilliant debut with this saturnalia of arthouse horror. (…) What is very impressive about Raw is that absolutely everything about it is disquieting, not just the obvious moments of revulsion: there is no let up in the ambient background buzz of fear. (…) Just as in Abel Ferrara’s vampire horror The Addiction, college is an arena of fear: a sense that your entire sense of self is dissolving as you have to find your way in a new adult world of previously unsuspected menace, unsure if what people are making you do is normal or an outrage. And vet school – so apparently innocuous – is a place where you have to get used to the horror of animal flesh. To swallow it, in fact. Cannibalism becomes Justine’s own initiation into adulthood.” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 21/09/2016


“This truly well-made and completely ‘mutant’ debut feature by Julia Ducournau is a gory piece that is completely original, thrilling and, in a word, impressive. The film starts with a head-on shock. You’ve been warned, it’s this sort of experience, both bracing and exhilarating, that awaits viewers of Franco-Belgian film Raw by Julia Ducournau, her debut feature film (…) it’s also the element of surprise that keeps us blinking in horror on the edge of our seats for most of this film as we split our sides laughing, astounded by its audacity, which is completely above suspicion. (…) The way young Justine blossoms once she gets a taste of young flesh brings us a sequence of scenes each more brilliant than the last (…) that are extraordinarily powerful right up to the last second of the film, which draw at times on the imagery of The Shining, on the brutality of Lord of the Flies, and even more so on the thematic abundance of a Dario Argento on amphetamines” Bénédicte Prot, Cineuropa, 15/05/2016


“French writer-director Julia Ducournau’s extraordinary first feature is a heady, blood-soaked examination of femininity, sexual awakening and the sisterly bond. (…) This, then, is not the typical, oppressive high-school setting, but rather a kind of bleak, emotionless non-space that, crucially, offers Justine room for self-expression, largely unfettered by expectation or constraints. (…) Ducournau’s control of her material is masterful. The script is at once fiercely original and replete with a rich awareness of the genre, smoothly referencing films from Carrie to Ginger Snaps and The Craft. Marillier is excellent, playing Justine with a subtlety and assurance that grounds the film, even at its most extreme. (…)  Ducournau’s intelligent exploration of femininity gives depth to the film’s visceral, bloody celebration of the body and its appetites.” Chloe Roddick, British Film Institute, 14/12/2016


“Suffice to say, “Raw” (…) (is) probably the most visceral, challenging and often just plain jaw-dropping feature to hit the screen at the latest edition of a festival (Toronto International Film Festival) that’s never backed down from a big, bloody meal.” Kate Erbland, IndieWire, 13/09/2016


“With Raw, Ducournau uses the concept of consuming meat as a symbol that accommodates various analogies, from sexual awakening to drug experimentation to the notion of intrinsic identity — and how confusing the latter can be for a young person (particularly a sheltered one) thrust into an environment where weaknesses are exploited and insecurities thrive.(..) As a parable, Raw depicts dependency as a juvenile rite of passage that can be tossed aside with enough willpower, or a devastating addiction that renders its host helpless. As a thoughtful allegory, Raw explores the essential nature of identity, and how recognizing who and what we are, and coping with the attendant difficulties, is imperative to becoming a fully-realized adult.” Britt Hays,September 30th 2016 Screencrush

The film, which premiered as part of Critics’ Week at Cannes, justly won the FIPRESCI prize. Ducourneau, a first-time writer-director, shows surprisingly sharp command and, more importantly, restraint given the subject matter. Although the film is rooted in arthouse film territory, and is particularly inspired by the films of David Cronenberg and David Lynch, “Raw” turns out to be its own wild animal. Jordan Ruimy,27.May 2016, The Playlist

  • Prix FIPRESCI - Semaine Internationale de la Critique 2016, Cannes, 2016 (France)
  • Sutherland Award First Feature Competition – London Film Festival, 2016 (UK)
  • Directors to Watch - Julia Ducournau – Palm Springs International Film Festival, 2016 (USA)
  • Explore Award – Ghent International Film Festival, 2016 (Belgium)
  • Méliès d’Or Best European Fantastic Film – European Fantastic Films Federation, 2016
  • Œil d’Or Grand Prix International Feature Length Films – Paris International Fantastic Film Festival, 2016 (France)
  • Best Director - Julia Ducournau – Austin Fantastic Fest, 2016 (USA)
  • Citizen Kane Award for Best Directorial Revelation – Sitges Catalonian International Film Festival, 2016 (Spain)
  • Méliès d’Argent Best Feature Length European Film – Sitges Catalonian International Film Festival, 2016 (Spain)
Cast & Credits
Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Naït Oufella, Joana Preiss, Laurent Lucas, Bouli Lanners, Marion Vernoux
Julia Ducournau
Ruben Impens
Mathieu Descamps, Séverin Favriau, Stéphane Thiébaut
Laurie Colson
Jim Williams
Petit Film, Rouge International
Frakas Productions
O’Brother Distribution

Born in Paris in 1983, Julia Ducournau studied literature at the Sorbonne before taking courses in screenwriting at La Fémis in Paris, and at Columbia University. In 2011 her short “Junior” receives awards at the Semaine de la Critique in Cannes and at the Premiers Plans Festival in Angers. “Raw” is her first feature film.

  • 2016 - Grave
  • 2012 - Mange (TV Film)
  • 2011 - Junior (short)