One of the possible ways to make mankind's eating habits more sustainable is to start eating edible insects. A disgusting hypothesis for many and futuristic for others, which however, at least in part, is already a reality. In fact, a few months ago, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) gave the green light for the consumption of flour moths in biscuits, pasta or protein bars. A pioneering experiment for other insects, such as grasshoppers. Nightmare with open eyes or hope for the future of the planet? As the debate ignites, the film The Swarm of arrives on Netflix Just Philippot, which starts from the idea of the consumption of grasshoppers for mankind to stage a lacerating family drama, which leads to obsession and violence.
A subject capable of immediately igniting the enthusiasm of B-movie fans (also fueled by the platform's promotional campaign), which instead is declined in a much more authorial way, as evidenced by the inclusion of Lo sciame in the official selection of Critics' Week of the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, an edition that was not held due to Covid. The protagonist of the story is Virginie (Suliane Brahim), a single mother of two who runs a grasshopper farm, with the intent to ride out the demand for these insects and secure a future for her family. Unfortunately, the business does not go as hoped, and the woman is in financial straits. Everything changes when Virginie accidentally realizes that locusts reproduce faster when they feed on blood. Reassured by the discovery, the woman devotes herself completely to the cause, distancing herself from her children and falling into a vortex of madness and self-destruction.
The Swarm: Bloodthirsty grasshoppers in the new Netflix movie
Far from the dynamics of horror and sci-fi nuances, Lo swarm is distinguished by a more Hitchcockian approach, which consists in hiding the ravenous locusts as much as possible from the viewer and in generating a growing tension in the viewer, through the music and choices of direction. times to intrigue without revealing. In truth, even in his first work Just Philippot succeeds at least in part in the task, also hitting a couple of genuinely sinister sequences. The choice to proceed by accumulation of tension, without a corresponding advancement of the plot, however, soon jams the narrative mechanism, which becomes redundant and not always engaging.
In particular, The Swarm is affected at times by the subtle balance in which the screenplay by Jérôme Genevray and Franck Victor moves, perennially poised between the psychological thriller with a family background and a sociological and environmentalist reflection on French rural territory. The surprising performance of Suliane Brahim is therefore not enough, recalling the best in its most disturbing veins Charlotte Gainsbourg, to create empathy towards the dysfunctional family at the center of the story, although the director also tries to broaden the discussion to the peers of the protagonist's children and to the means through which they express dissent or embarrassment.
The grasshoppers on which The Swarm is based are shown droppered and almost never convincingly, except for a few shots that linger over their blood-based meals. The epilogue of the film finally manages to explode the violence and obsession long compressed previously, but it is too late to save a work that risks making everyone unhappy, precisely because it is colorless and unable to take a clear and precise direction.
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