An exquisitely made horror fantasy fable about alienation and the loss of real emotions to achieve artificial happiness.
Little Joe, by Jessica Hausner. Austria. 2019. 105’. Original soundtrack with Spanish subtitles.
Alice, a prominent scientist, breeds a genetically modified strain of plant in the lab. Its pollen contains a virus that eradicates genuine feelings, but it’s a beautiful plant and, in optimal conditions, it makes its owners feel something akin to happiness. One day, Alice takes one of the plants home to her son and they christen it Little Joe. But as the plant grows, they begin to realise that it's not as harmless as it first seemed.
Emily Beecham, who plays Alice, won the award for best actress at the Cannes Film Festival.
Jessica Hausner (Austria, 1972). A screenwriter, director and producer, Hausner studied at the Film Academy Vienna where she made the short films Flora (1996) and Inter-View (1999). She is a regular at the Cannes festival, where she has presented most of her films, and during the course of her career she has won several international awards at festivals, including Cannes itself as well as Venice, Seville and the Viennale. In 2001 she released her first feature film, Lovely Rita, following it up with Hotel (2004), Lourdes (2009), Amour fou (2014) and Little Joe, her most recent title to date.
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