FAFF 2020 Review: Anonymous Animals will make your skin crawl.
By: The Rev. Dan Wilson
French filmmakers aren’t afraid to make some fucked up movies and hot damn do I love that about them. I recall our coverage of the Chattanooga Film Festival back in the spring for the movie Jumbo. It was sold to me as “a movie about a girl who does the nasty with a Tilt-A-Whirl”. While that was a bit of a gross oversimplification, it was equal parts completely bizarre and surprisingly sweet. By the end I was actually rooting for the forbidden lovers to succeed.
Well, 2020’s Anonymous Animals by Director/Writer Baptiste Rouveure is a French film that checks any sort of that optimism at the door and gives you an all out sensory assault and sense of impending doom throughout instead, but it sure does deliver on the fucked up part.
The premise is pretty simple. The world of humans and animals has been flipped on its head and the rolls are now reversed. They treat us exactly as we treat them, and the results aren’t pretty. We see a literal “Deer Hunter” chasing after pitiful human prey as he brandishes a shotgun. We see cattle herding people and sending them through the old slaughterhouse to be made into meat, we see a pack of dogs making humans fight each other to the death, and a number of other disturbing reversal of fortune scenarios.
This is some weird, trippy, experimental filmmaking at its best. I recommend watching it half in the bag, though I’d avoid any sort of hallucinogens as it could lead to a bad time. There really isn’t much of a coherent plot per se, just a collection of examples of these supremely disturbing humanoid creatures with animal heads inflicting some variety of torture on a hapless human.
There is also absolutely no dialogue in the entire movie. Just humans screaming in terror and animals grunting and making disturbing animal noises.
I suppose there is some sort of Peta inspired or Vegan message here, since we ultimately find out that we really wouldn’t like it at all if animals treated us the way that we treat them, but it didn’t change my diet or anything. I don’t feel like they’re going for that in any sort of heavy handed manner here, the main goal is clearly to make a disturbing film. Most of the gore or violence is implied or cut away from, yet there are snapshots from this thing that will haunt me for weeks to come and there is a real artistic flair about the imagery, the mood the film sets, and overall disturbing tone. This is the type of movie that gets under your skin, sits there a while and causes you to think. If that sounds like your kind of film, then you should seek out Anonymous Animals.