Jessica Hausner’s first English-language feature is a cool, witty, impressively fresh variation on traditional sci-fi themes.
Dir Jessica Hausner
With Emily Beecham, Ben Whishaw, Kerry Fox, Kit Connor
A BFI release
After laboratory colleagues Alice (Beecham) and Chris (Whishaw) create a flower with a scent designed to induce happiness, the divorcee names it ‘Little Joe’ after her son. Then unexpected developments make her wonder whether contact with the plant might have serious side effects... Characteristically imaginative in its script, camerawork, design and use of Teiji Ito’s music, Hausner’s movie is a model of expressive precision, speaking volumes about the psychological and social dynamics of the workplace, family, parenthood and gender relations. Thanks to meticulously nuanced performances, the characters’ behaviour and motives are left intriguingly ambiguous, making for a profoundly disquieting but compelling enigma.
Geoff Andrew, Programmer-at-large
Preceding Little Joe will be an extract from The Birth of a Flower (UK 1910. 3min). Directed by F Percy Smith, a true pioneer, who invented original (and bizarre) methods for time lapse and micro cinematography (especially of flowers and insects) that have hardly been bettered by modern film technique.