Beugnet, M., Delanoë-Brun, E.
Raw becomings: Bodies, discipline and control in Julia Ducornau’s Grave
(2021) French Screen Studies, 21 (3), pp. 204-223.
Julia Ducournau’s Grave (2018) takes place within the confines of an isolated veterinary school, where humans and animals coexist as part of a highly codified environment. Against the backdrop of the school’s methodical and ritualised social regulation, disruptive bodily transformations take place, blurring the biological and behavioural categories that traditionally define species-based identities. Grave presents us with two irreconcilable yet complementary concepts of the body: one that is subject to the scientific pursuit of categorising, normalising and disciplining already in evidence in the proto-cinematic project of decomposing movement, and another corporeality based on fluidity and exchange, recalling Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of becoming. Following the stylistic conventions of a French horror cinema that foregrounds the materiality of the image, bodies, in Grave, appear as markers of subjection, adaptation or resistance to strategies of disciplining and normalisation. However, the film’s visual and narrative lines of flight, and its open-ended conclusion, raise the question of a move from one disciplining system to another, more diffuse model of control. © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
becoming; Body horror; Deleuze and Guattari; Foucault; French horror; Muybridge