Thursday, March 31, 2016

Lucile Hadzihalilovic's Stunning Allegory of Man's Fear

Evolution (2015) - Hadzihalilovic
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So more than 10 years after Innocence, Lucille Hadzihaliovic returns with a stunning companion piece, Evolution. Innocence, an allegorical tale of reaching puberty and womanhood was a cinematic feast for the eyes. This time she turns her attention to young boys. Shot by Manuel Dacosse (Amer, Strange Color of Your Body's Tears) in anamorphic format, the result is equally impressive. If all-girl boarding school in the forest served as a conditioning girls to conform to traditional female roles, or worse, be a man's toy in Innocence, in Evolution, a remote, manless white village on the jagged coast of volcanic island and coarse black sand (shot in Lanzarote, Canary Islands) with a creepy medical lab serves as the backdrop for men's fear of penetration and pregnancy.

There are no grown up men nor young girls in this white walled village, literally a stones throw away from roaring sea. All the women are uniformly androgynous, wearing the same style beige clothes, including Nicolas's mom, who feeds him some kind of green worm mush and ink drops "to make him strong". One day, diving into the bottom of the sea floor, he finds a dead body with a bright red starfish on it. He mentions this to mom. She shrugs it off, telling him that he doesn't know what he actually saw. He notices that mom sometimes goes out at night to the shore along with all other young moms in the village. He secretly follows her one night and witnesses a ritualistic orgy of women. They are all naked and putting some sort of slime all over their bodies.

Nicolas is soon taken to a decrepit medical building few steps away where they inject something in his belly. It is all perceived as a normal procedure, as his friends are all there, spending the night to recover. Nicolas senses that there is larger conspiracy and decides that mom is not his real mom. Soon he finds that his friends are disappearing in the lab and he finds bodies floating in a tank filled with green water. With the help of a kindly red haired young nurse, he plans to escape.

Anamorphic cinematography is out of this world. Underwater photography is rapturous. Its intentionally underexposed look gives the film ominous feeling whole throughout. Don't miss seeing it on the big screen.

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