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ÉVOLUTION is a bizarre, oceanic horror trip. A barren island is populated by ten year-old boys and their “mothers”, strange identical looking women, who perform weird rituals and force the boys to undergo frightening medical procedures.


Lucile Hadžihalilović, Gaspar Noé’s partner and screenwriter, has constructed a sensual and uncanny cinema experience with her second film ÉVOLUTION that is meant to be experienced rather than understood. A barren island is solely populated by ten year-old boys and women who all dress the same and are called “mothers,” but it is doubtful that they are their real mothers. The women have strange skin rings on their back that look like suction cups. They meet by the ocean at night and conduct strange rituals. The give the boys deep blue medicine and keep taking them to the hospital thought it gradually becomes clear that they are in no way sick.
The ocean and the hospital are frightening, erotic, and above all corpoeal motifs in ÉVOLUTION that are the foundation of the plot, imagery, and soundscape. It keeps roaring in the fantastic soundtrack. At times it’s a quiet rumble, and other times it is a frightening thunder. The rhythm of the waves merge with the rhythm of beating hearts, the howling of the wind, water drops, and the creaking of the machines until it becomes a corporeal experience, supported by a camera that records these rhythms as an elevator goes down or neon lights are seen by a semiconscious boy as he is pushed along a corridor. ÉVOLUTION, shot in Lanzarote, contrasts the isolation and sparseness of the landscape with the organic cornucopia of the ocean world. A dazzling film bridging sensual borders and crossing them, excessively and ecstatically, more of a trip than a narrative.

Tom Dorow

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: Evolution
Frankreich/Spanien/Belgien 2014, 81 min
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
Director: Lucile Hadzihalilovic
Author: Lucile Hadzihalilovic, Alanté Kavaité
DOP: Manuel Dacosse
Music: Zacarias M. de la Riva, Jesus Diaz, Marcel Landowski
Distributor: Wild Bunch Germany
Cast: Max Brebant, Roxane Duran, Julie-Marie Parmentier
Release: 16.06.2016




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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