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BERTRAND BONELLO — THE BEAST

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In Bertrand Bonello’s THE BEAST—an endlessly fascinating three-part puzzle—we first encounter Gabrielle (Léa Seydoux) and Louis (George MacKay) near the end of the Belle Époque, strolling through a Paris vernissage, playing a parlor game of “do you remember?” The last time they met, Gabrielle, a pianist, had shared with George a feeling of foreboding dread, a visitation that would manifest through no fault or action of her own. Now, admiring the paintings and greeting Paul Poiret in passing, George asks his friend if she recalls telling him of her fears and whether or not they have been realized. Not yet.

Los Angeles 2014—about a decade before the second American civil war, we’re told—Gabrielle and Louis meet again. This time, Gabrielle works as a commercial actor and Louis is a self-documenting incel, cornered by his inability to make physical or emotional connections even when given ample opportunities to do so. Housesitting in a glass box in the hills, computer viruses multiplying on her laptop, Gabrielle encounters an online fortune teller, a sphinx without a secret in a city full of them.

In Paris, 2044, Gabrielle is at loose ends and at a crossroads. To function in an AI-dominated world, she is advised to undergo a process whereby all of her emotions will be erased. “We can help you get rid of your affects.” Or, she can simply have her past lives scanned and rescanned for clues to the origins of her discontent. And so, while Louis is ready to follow the flows of time wherever they take him, even into insentience, Gabrielle remains adamant in her sentimental quest for meaning and human perception, revisiting worlds where feeling—elation, sadness, deception—is its own reward.

THE BEAST is now in cinemas. See info and links below for details.

 

 

THE BEAST

Written and directed by Bertrand Bonello

Now playing

 

Laemmle Glendale

207 North Maryland Avenue, Glendale

laemmle.com/glendale

 

Through May 2

Monica Film Center

1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica

laemmle.com/monica-film-center

 

Through April 26

Landmark Sunset

8000 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood

landmarktheatres.com/the-beast

 

Through April 18

AMC Burbank 16

125 East Palm Avenue, Burbank

amctheatres.com/movies/the-beast

 

 

Bertrand Bonello, The Beast / La Bête (2023), from top: Léa Seydoux; George MacKay and Seydoux; Seydoux; MacKay; Guslagie Malanda and Seydoux; The Beast poster; Seydoux; MacKay and Seydoux.

Images courtesy and © Sideshow and Janus Films.