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EARWIG (2021, GBR) – 5/10

Lucile Hadžihalilović (born in 1961) is a French filmmaker originally from Bosnia, who grew up in Morocco and then studied film in Paris and has been working in film since the eighties, but the most interesting “detail” in her biography was that her husband is Gaspar Noe. This realization alone is enough of a hint that Hadžihalilović does not shoot classic mainstream films, so she worked with her husband on the script for his abstract “Enter the Void”. In about thirty years, if IMDB is to be believed, she made four feature films and three short films, and she presented this surrealistic, expressionistic psychological drama at the festival in San Sebastian.

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And “Earwig” is an extremely bizarre, dark, grotesque and rather grotesque film that I found repulsive and exhausting due to its extremely slow pace and monotony. Stylistically, it was more along the lines of the films made by, for example, the British art filmmaker Peter Strickland or David Lynch from the “Eraserhead” phase and completely surreal short films. The action here takes place somewhere in the fifties in Great Britain, and the situation is all the more bizarre and strange because we have the first dialogue around the 25th minute. In the center of attention is 10-year-old Mia and 50-year-old Albert, a weirdo who for some reason takes care of the little girl, and his main task is to change her old-fashioned, strange, bizarre and grotesque dentures every day.

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Everything seems even more confusing because the story is told from the perspective of this weirdo who almost doesn’t talk at all, except when he answers the phone through which he gets tasks to do. While the girl never leaves that old, dark, creaky typical English post-war house, Albert goes occasionally to the local pub where he will start to be bothered by a mysterious stranger. From the beginning to the end, the atmosphere is completely creepy and it is completely unclear to us what is happening there. Who is this weirdo and who is this toothless kid to whom he changes and fixes some kind of primitive denture every day. The most repulsive thing about “Earwig” was the appallingly slow pace, the monotony that extremely annoyed and exhausted me, and it is a film in which it is practically impossible to understand what the poetess wanted to say.