The Spanish-French production The Beasts (As bestas), directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, takes place in a Galician village, although its central characters are a couple of French farmers, who have been living there for a couple of years, Olga and Antoine, respectively played by Marina Foïs and Denis Ménochet (the farmer who hid Shosanna and her family from the Nazis in Inglourious Basterds).
In a time when cinema constantly reflects the evident xenophobia that exists in the world, The Beasts presents the classic hostility between neighbors. In this case, two Galician brothers (Luis Zahera and Diego Anido) begin to harass mainly Antoine, who in response starts to record them in order to have proof; however, he doesn’t have much success with the authorities.
The Beasts stands out for its accomplished sequences of mundane tension in crescendo and for the complex background of the conflict. A wind energy company is looking to buy the village land. The immigrant Antoine, from a wealthier class than the locals, is against it.
Romantically, he considers the place his home, even doing unpaid work restoring houses in an effort to attract more people. In addition, he thinks that the economic proposal isn’t fair. The brothers, on the contrary, are part of the majority of villagers who see the sale as their first – and probably only – opportunity to aspire to something more than what they have known all their lives.
The Beasts lasts almost two and a half hours, without ceasing to be interesting or losing tension. At one point, Foïs goes to the center of the action as a woman with admirable courage and resilience; her daughter (Marie Colomb) and the elderly mother of the Galician brothers (Luisa Merelas) also highlight the feminine perspective after the culminating moment of masculine brutality. The Beasts is a potent display of the consequences of violence.
ScreenAnarchy – Los Cabos 2022 Review: THE BEASTS, A Potent and Complex Exploration of Mundane Violence
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November 21, 2022