It’s less a question if Bertrand Bonello’s The Beast is a major mark on 2023 and more an issue of whether or not I’ll ever, even at a microscopic level, manage to stop thinking about it. I’ve seen the film twice and found each outing equal-parts frustrating and beguiling until it was finally enlivening, marked by one or two flashes of something like honest-to-God Stendhal syndrome, then descending into stretches of full-bore terror––its climax leaving me to ask how many modern filmmakers push images and montage to Bonello’s own limits––before going out with perhaps the most petrifying ending since (and I’d guess in direct homage to) the third season of Twin Peaks. This is to say I think it’s a good film and you should see it.
A new trailer has been released for The Beast‘s February 7 opening in France. (It comes stateside, courtesy Janus-Sideshow, at an undisclosed date next year.) This preview relies heavily on French sections of a largely English-language feature, but neatly conjures effects by playing a key Patsy Cline needle drop plays across some of my favorite images––among which are a few I’d never put into a preview and suggest avoiding if the film’s unseen.
David Katz was duly impressed out of Venice, writing, “Where to begin with Bertrand Bonello’s wonderful The Beast? It’s been so gratifying to see the initial reaction to the French filmmaker’s tenth feature, after several decades of increasingly remarkable work––the majority of it dark, beautiful, and sleazy. In fact, for what a discomforting and despairing experience much of The Beast is, when I’ve thought back its moments of real, uncomplicated cinematic pleasure, its verve and sense of joyousness, are what mark my memories. It’s romantic, without a capital-R.”
Watch the preview below: