by writer/director Julia Ducournau
Since I was a kid, I’ve felt drawn to monsters in an intimate way. I’ve always felt close to them. I remember feeling heartbroken while watching Godzilla or King Kong as they were attacked by the army, exhibited and shamed. I felt at the time: the fight isn’t fair! It’s not like they’ve chosen to be a giant reptile or monkey! They break everything because they’re just too big for us! These feelings took a more profound turn in my teen years, when I discovered movies like Freaks and The Elephant Man, which moved me to tears more than once. Calling a giant gorilla a “monster” was one thing, but a human? Why are we so quick to dismiss our own and declare they don’t fit humanity? And what makes us entitled? I think it’s particularly ironic considering we all feel like monsters at one point in our lives. We all feel we don’t fit sometimes. Does it make us monsters?
I came to think that the monster figure just glares into our soul. It is the mirror of what we dismiss in ourselves. That’s why we don’t want to look at them.
If one could indeed perceive a screening room as a kind of arena, or as a modern roman theater, I personally want to see it as a womb in which I’m each time reborn as a different being. What better place than darkness to experiment the infinite possibilities of what it means to be human? Until we come back to light, seemingly unchanged, but bearing in us the twists and turns of another life that we made our own for two hours….
In theaters, the screen glares into our souls. In theaters, there is a truth to be found. Whether we like it or not.