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Female Human Animal

Josh Appignanesi's art-world psycho-thriller blends reality and fiction to delirious effect, in its tale of an exhibition curator pursued by a mysterious figure.

Drama-documentary 2018 74 mins Not rated

Director: Josh Appignanesi



Shot in the real-life contemporary art world, Female Human Animal is a psycho-thriller about a creative woman disenchanted with what modern life has to offer her. Novelist Chloe Aridjis, playing a version of her real-life self, stages a Tate Gallery exhibition of her Mexican compatriot, surrealist painter Leonora Carrington. Chloe increasingly disappointed by her milieu — and increasingly haunted by Carrington’s strange artworks. When an elusive, brooding man seems to offer more, Chloe begins to pursue him, but is she hunter, or hunted? Enabled by Carrington’s own defiantly mysterious mythology, she descends into a world of obsession.

Deftly weaving fact and fiction, Female Human Animal is a darkly romantic fantasia of a woman who goes beyond societal norms. Shot on an antique analogue videocamera, giving the film a furtive CCTV-style look that's also reminiscent of the Dogme '95 movement, Josh Appignanesi (The Infidel) has crafted a uncategorisable concoction incorporating surrealism, wry drama and genre thrills.