‘They are not violent films but rather films about violence and its larger impact on the world’
– Author Alexandra West

French cinema is not usually associated with extreme violence or graphic sex, yet here we are, celebrating the unique moment in cinema history that sent shockwaves through arthouse sensibilities. Generational anger, political frustration and an obsession with intimacy was channeled by a disparate array of filmmakers who shaped it into a new cinema of cruelty. Not all the films of the New French Extremity are horror films, but all are horrifying in their own way. They’re shaped by and fascinated with violence – intimate and societal. These films, at their core, challenge every social norm, breaking them down to their very essence. At their best, the films of the New French Extremity are transcendent; at their worst, they’re brutal.

Anna Bogutskaya, season programmer

Talks and events

Gaspar Noé in Conversation

The provocative director joins us to discuss his illustrious career and his latest film.

Read more

Sex and Death, but Make It Arthouse

Dive into our New French Extremity season with this richly illustrated talk.

Read more

Horror à la Française

Explore the horror films of the New French Extremity with this online panel discussion.

Read more

Philosophical Screens: Romance

Join our regular film philosophers to consider the film’s graphic exploration of sex and the body.

Read more

Release

Preview: Vortex + intro by Gaspar Noé

Gaspar Noé’s latest is a tender film about loneliness, love and dying.

Read more

Vortex

Gaspar Noé’s latest is a tender film about loneliness, love and dying.

Read more

Films

Carne + La Bouche de Jean-Pierre

The creative collaboration between Gaspar Noé and Lucile Hadžihalilović can be felt in their early mid-length debuts.

Read more

Carne + La Bouche de Jean-Pierre + Q&A with Lucile Hadžihalilović

The creative collaboration between Gaspar Noé and Lucile Hadžihalilović can be felt in their early mid-length debuts.

Read more

Man Bites Dog

A mockumentary about a Belgian serial killer with a love of classical music.

Read more

Criminal Lovers

François Ozon’s second film is an anti-authority, violent retelling of the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale.

Read more

Romance

Provocateur Catherine Breillat’s portrait of a young woman’s journey of sexual exploration.

Read more

Romance + intro by Catherine Wheatley, King’s College London

Provocateur Catherine Breillat’s portrait of a young woman’s journey of sexual exploration.

Read more

Pola X

Leos Carax, auteur of weird cinema, adapts Herman Melville’s novel of incest, obsession and despair.

Read more

Baise-moi

This raw, violent rampage from the pen of feminist Virginie Despentes caused a furore in France.

Read more

Trouble Every Day

An erotic horror with cannibals, starring Béatrice Dalle and Vincent Gallo.

Read more

Trouble Every Day + intro by writer and creative Sophie Monks Kaufman

An erotic horror with cannibals, starring Béatrice Dalle and Vincent Gallo.

Read more

In My Skin

Marina de Van explores self-destruction through this close-up body horror.

Read more

In My Skin + intro by Catherine Wheatley, King’s College London

Marina de Van explores self-destruction through this close-up body horror.

Read more

Irreversible (theatrical version)

Gaspar Noé’s brutal take on the rape-revenge film is a tragedy in reverse.

Read more

High Tension (aka Switchblade Romance)

Alexandre Aja defined a new breed of horror by bringing the American slasher format into French cinema.

Read more

High Tension (aka Switchblade Romance) + pre-recorded intro by author Alexandra West

Alexandre Aja defined a new breed of horror by bringing the American slasher format into French cinema.

Read more

The Ordeal

Inspired by Psycho and Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Fabrice Du Welz crafts a creepy fairy tale of performance and obsession.

Read more

Them

A home-invasion horror with a nihilistic twist.

Read more

Inside

The grande dame of New French Extremity, Beatrice Dalle is at her most menacing in this home-invasion horror.

Read more

Martyrs

Upsetting, brutal and horrifically fascinating, Martyrs is perhaps the most extreme film of the New French Extremity movement.

Read more

Focus on: Gaspar Noé

I Stand Alone

Gaspar Noé’s debut feature offers a bleak, grotesque vision of France.

Read more

Irreversible: The Straight Cut

Gaspar Noé’s re-cut follows events in chronological order, but is no less brutal.

Read more

Enter the Void

A hallucinatory trip down memory lane of a dead drug dealer in Tokyo.

Read more

Love (3D)

A love story in 3D – Gaspar Noé style.

Read more

Climax

Step Up meets The Devils in Gaspar Noé’s unhinged dance horror.

Read more

Climax + extended intro by season programmer Anna Bogutskaya

Step Up meets The Devils in Gaspar Noé’s unhinged dance horror.

Read more

Gaspar Noé’s Mixtape + Q&A with Gaspar Noé

Prepare to take a psychedelic trip and immerse yourself in some experimental, bold, and distinctive Noé cuts.

Read more

Lux Æterna

Witches, actresses and cursed shoots collide in this psychedelic, split-screen nightmare.

Read more

BFI Course

BFI Course: City Lit at the BFI: New French Extremity

This four-session coursewill consider the historical, cultural, social and political context for this phenomenon and seek to examine a number of these films in detail.

Read more