35 min

Bertrand Bonello on The Beast The Film Comment Podcast

    • TV & Film

Last fall, director Bertrand Bonello’s latest, The Beast, was a thrilling highlight of the festival circuit. The film is a loose, two-and-a-half-hour, time-and-space-jumping adaptation of Henry James’ 1903 novella The Beast in the Jungle, in which a man refuses love believing that he is destined for a catastrophe. In The Beast, a woman named Gabrielle (Léa Seydoux) is thwarted in her quest for romance with Louis (George MacKay) across three different historical periods by multiple catastrophes: in 1910, by the Great Flood of Paris; in 2014, by incel culture; and in 2044, by a world dominated by artificial intelligence in which people are purified of their traumatic memories. All this spells doom for love.

It’s an unpredictable and expansive film that brings together references from cinema, literature, art, and internet culture into a movie that feels classical in its construction and, at the same time, extremely contemporary in its subject matter and narrative twists—a vision of what it feels like to be alive today. And boy, is it creepy! On today’s Podcast, Film Comment Editor Devika Girish was joined by Bonello to talk about the film, which arrives in theaters on Friday, April 5.

Last fall, director Bertrand Bonello’s latest, The Beast, was a thrilling highlight of the festival circuit. The film is a loose, two-and-a-half-hour, time-and-space-jumping adaptation of Henry James’ 1903 novella The Beast in the Jungle, in which a man refuses love believing that he is destined for a catastrophe. In The Beast, a woman named Gabrielle (Léa Seydoux) is thwarted in her quest for romance with Louis (George MacKay) across three different historical periods by multiple catastrophes: in 1910, by the Great Flood of Paris; in 2014, by incel culture; and in 2044, by a world dominated by artificial intelligence in which people are purified of their traumatic memories. All this spells doom for love.

It’s an unpredictable and expansive film that brings together references from cinema, literature, art, and internet culture into a movie that feels classical in its construction and, at the same time, extremely contemporary in its subject matter and narrative twists—a vision of what it feels like to be alive today. And boy, is it creepy! On today’s Podcast, Film Comment Editor Devika Girish was joined by Bonello to talk about the film, which arrives in theaters on Friday, April 5.

35 min

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