Whither David Fincher? Make room, Paul Thomas Anderson? There’s a (somewhat) new filmmaker on the world stage, Austrian writer/director Jessica Hausner, drawing comparisons to Stanley Kubrick. Her latest film, Little Joe, might be tough to categorize as it incorporates elements from genres like sci-fi and horror while also maintaining an auteurist stamp. But one thing that’s never in doubt is her command of the medium and her control of the story.
The plot itself may sound familiar: a working single mother, Emily Beecham’s Alice, feels torn between duties to her teenage son and her laboratory work. As a plant breeder, she’s on the cusp of a breakthrough on engineering a plant that can chemically induce happiness in its owner. However, her creation might be altering people in a more insidious and imperceptible way à la Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Where the film really excels is in her execution, which is both impressive and eerie in its remarkable precision.
Upon the occasion of a career retrospective at New York’s Film at Lincoln Center, I sat down with Hausner to discuss her exacting visuals and methodical approach to filmmaking. Read More »
Little Shop of Horrors gave us a man-eating venus fly trap, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes delivered exactly what the title promised, and The Happening had trees that made people want to kill themselves. Now, director Jessica Hausner is giving us a new deadly plant to fear in a haunting thriller called Little Joe. We’ve got an exclusive clip that ominously introduces us to the little red bud that slowly starts to wreak havoc on a young woman’s life and son. Watch the Little Joe clip below. Read More »
Maybe it’s the success of TV’s Black Mirror, maybe it’s just the general state of the world, but it feels a bit like we need our high-concept science fiction delivered to us in purely dystopian form. Technological advances are inherently suspicious, the conventional wisdom seems to suggest. Our humanity alone might not be enough to save us. It’s oddly comforting, strange as it sounds, to come across a film like Jessica Hausner’s Little Joe, which takes the form of an Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style horror film but dares to suggest that perhaps the things we fear aren’t quite as ominous as they appear.
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Keep this strange, beautiful red flower at an ideal temperature, feed it properly, speak to it regularly, and the genetically engineered “happy plant” will boost its owner’s mood. There’s no “no feeding it after midnight” rule, but something does go wrong in the care of the plant at the center of Jessica Hausner‘s eerie sci-fi film that plays like Gremlins meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Little Joe follows a plant breeder whose new creation, which she dubs “Little Joe,” is supposed to enhance people’s moods. But nature has a different purpose in mind in the sci-fi thriller that premiered at Cannes earlier this year. Watch the Little Joe trailer below.
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