Gorge Coeur Ventre
Concorso Cineasti del presente
With relief or sheer indifference, consumers of the modern world leave it to others to turn animals into their fuming steaks and bacon. The transformation is not magical. And it’s not appetizing. Even those with no moral objection to carnivorism could not deny that shedding blood as a living would take a toll on anybody’s psyche.
The unnamed protagonist of Maud Alpi’s harrowing first feature, Gorge Cœur Ventre, has a temp job in one of these most unpleasant workplaces: abattoirs. His task is to shove the rebellious pigs and calves, too shaky from fear to stand and walk, towards their death. Although his working tool is an electrified stick, his reflex is, sometimes, a caress. The boy is confused. His closest companion – and the film’s co-lead – is, after all, an animal. Hence an urge, albeit not fully understood, for justification and apology to his faithful dog who, tied in a side alley, must hear all day the pleading screams of his four-legged peers. I have a plan, the boy tells the dog. Pile up enough workdays to be granted unemployment benefits and get the hell out of here. Things could be worse, he continues, if work was underground, without lights, while in the background the abattoir’s halogen lamps contrast with shadows to produce unhealthy chiaroscuros. The boy doesn’t quite get it, it seems, while his furry “best friend”, more in tune with both the world’s wonders and suffering, commands us to kneel to his height and remember how nature will flourish over man’s arrogant constructions, ultimately destined to ruin and silence. And there are humans who think the world belongs to them.