Lucile Hadžihalilović’s remarkable debut was a female coming-of-age story; her long-awaited follow-up offers a male variant, but while Innocence had otherworldly atmosphere to spare, Evolution spins off into even more surreal, sci-fi-infused territory.
10-year-old Nicolas lives on a remote island, inhabited solely by women and young boys. He spends his days exploring the sea and the rocky shore, and playing with the other lads from the island. But after making an eerie discovery that no-one else will believe, Nicolas is due to keep an appointment at the island’s hospital, where he will confront the mysteries of his origins and his destiny. At once a lyrical allegory around adolescent fears of bodily transformation and sexuality, but equally effective as an unsettling horror film with clear echoes of the works of David Cronenberg and H.P. Lovecraft and H.R. Giger, Evolution offers a resounding reaffirmation of Hadžihalilović’s precious talent.