In cinema, the further back you go, the more restrictive the rules regarding what you’re allowed to show on-screen (until you hit Pre-Code Hollywood films that is). This is especially true involving subjects considered taboo, such as LGBTQ characters and graphic violence. One of the items seldom depicted in the films of the era was the ultimate taboo: cannibalism.
“Go on—eat it.” With these words, the 16-year-old vegetarian protagonist in Julia Ducournau’s Raw is urged to consume meat by her older sister and classmates at her new veterinary school. When Justine (Garance Marillier) refuses, her sister Alexia forces the meat into her mouth anyway, in a violent and bloody hazing ritual. The incident triggers within the pretty, shy, and brilliant student a sudden and overwhelming desire for flesh—namely, human flesh.