Forget about Robin Williams’ Mr. Keating and his iconoclastic sway over his pupils in Dead Poets Society, Mia Wasikowska’s nutrition teacher Miss Novak in the Cannes competition title Club Zero takes inspiring students to a darker level.
Miss Novak transforms her students at a British boarding school into an anorexic cult with her “conscious eating” philosophy. Her academic disciples have bouts of bulimia and even swear off vegan food. One female character even punishes her father in a power play by refusing to eat. Others starve themselves for political and environmental reasons.
‘Club Zero’ Review: Anorexia Becomes A School Cult In Jessica Hausner’s Stylish But Disturbing Competition Pic – Cannes Film Festival
Austrian filmmaker Jessica Hausner swears Club Zero isn’t about eating disorders. “It’s maybe even more about a strange sort of faith and nutrition religion.”
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“It was interesting in showing how an idea can influence the action of us humans,” said the director.
However, Club Zero‘s bigger jab is at “fake truths and weird truths on the internet,” continued Hausner.
“The film is also talking about how ideas can radicalize people and how that comes along,” said the director, who is trying to get audiences to listen and discern the information that comes their way.
Wasikowska concurred that the film is making a statement about “fake news and anti-vaccination news — issues that are larger, issues that really permeated out of time.”
In approaching her stern character, Wasikowska said she spoke with Hausner. “It was very important for her to be played like a true believer, that she’s doing the right thing; she’s helping the kids and saving them; that she’s not consciously manipulating.”
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That process per the Alice in Wonderland actress, “creates a scarier form of manipulation” in the execution of the performance.
The movie is also about parents’ neglect over their children in the course of their work-addicted days.
“We should take more care of what happens to the young generation,” says Hausner.
Hausner explained that her use of a percussive score was to give Club Zero a tribal, cult vibe.
The pic is Hausner’s sixth at Cannes following 1999’s Inter-view, 2001’s Lovely Rita, 2004’s Hotel, 2014’s Amour Fou and 2019’s Little Joe.
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