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Cannes 2024: We almost rolled our eyes at this sexy, brilliantly grotesque horror-comedy

The substance : A body horror signed Coralie Fargeat

After proposing with vendetta (2017) a nice B series by rape and revengeCoralie Fargeat decided to let loose The substance. His second feature film was presented at 77th Cannes Film Festival in the Official Competition, and there is no doubt about this body horror will divide because the director has so much fun for the greatest pleasure of some and the worst of others. Here he imagines a wonderful product that allows those who use it to give life “a better version of himself”. What will interest Elizabeth (Demi Moore)a former movie star turned fitness coach for a TV show, like Jane Fonda and many others were able to do in the 1980s.

The substance
The substance

As we often hear, once you reach a certain age, when you are a woman, it becomes difficult to make it in the world of entertainment. This is how from one day to the next she finds herself thanked by the show’s producer (Denis Quaid who earns a lot of money), who is looking for new fresh meat to exploit. Luckily, thanks to the “Substance”, Elizabeth gives birth to a younger and more beautiful version of herself, Sue (Margaret Qualley). However, both will have to alternate, with one week for one and one week for the other. For 7 days Sue can live her life while Elizabeth remains an inert body, nourished by a liquid. But soon this sharing will no longer be enough for one and will cause terrible consequences for the other.

The grotesque assumption that explodes the retina

The concept of The substance it’s well thought out on the part of Coralie Fargeat giving a speech the cult of beauty and the desire for eternal youth, in the world of vulgarity and superficiality. The director uses no subtlety in her criticism of patriarchy, with men each more disgusting and ridiculous than the other, hypnotized by the perfect bodies of women. We are not far from an equally new background Barbie (2023).

And we can ask ourselves if it was really necessary to film Margaret Qualley’s ass that muchfrom all angles and in extreme close-ups, like the clip Satisfaction by Benny Benassi. This was already the case with Matilda Lutz vendetta. But Coralie Fargeat goes even further than her, showing a desire to make her actress hotter than ever and to undress her as soon as possible.

The substance
The substance

At least until the balance between Sue and Elizabeth is no longer respected and the situation descends into chaos. That’s right there Demi Moore becomes absolutely extraordinary. In the moment in which a sort of shared accommodation occurs from hell before the self-destruction of each person’s body. Wanting to revel in whatever one is willing to sacrifice for eternal youth, Coralie Fargeat proves ruthless and puts these bodies in jeopardy, making some scenes difficult to watch. unbearable for the most sensitive. Since the author of these lines is not particularly comfortable with the sight of a needle sinking into the skin, it is an understatement to say that The substance it was hard to see.

Coralie Fargeat, however, fully takes on the grotesque character of her work in a crazy and chaotic ending, which playfully recalls a whole series of references (from Dorian Gray has The Elephant Man Passing through Vertigo AND Carrie). It cannot be said that the director was not generous, with her virtuoso direction acting as a perfect counterbalance with an economy of dialogue suited to her two heroines. She thus emerges from The substance something pleasant. A big damn nonsense, disgusting and messywho doesn’t really care about doing too much. A wonderful monstrosity that will leave no one unharmed.

The substance by Coralie Fargeat was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in the Official Competition. The film will be released in theaters soon.

Source: Cine Serie

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