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Innocence

January 22nd, 2021

When did you last see a film in which you genuinely didn’t know what was going to happen next nor at the end? When did you last see a film that resisted an obvious short-hand description ‘it’s this crossed with that’? When have you ever seen a film with no male characters or where the vast majority of the cast are under 12? Welcome to Innocence.

Hoovering up interesting items in a highbrow Edinburgh charity shop I pulled this DVD from the shelf. The Artificial Eye brand reliably promised something beyond the mainstream, something ‘art house’. The cover images are beautiful and arresting (you could say the same thing of any randomly selected frame from the film). The description, of a mysterious girls’ boarding school behind a high wall in a dense forest, was compelling. I bought it and unusually then watched it.

I loved it, I love it, I love it more the more I reflect on it and I can’t stop reflecting on it.

An Independent on Sunday critic devised this great short-hand “Buñuel meets Angela Carter meets Enid Blyton” – this is no help before you watch it but in retrospect is perfect!

Below is a link to a wonderful video essay that distills Innocence for you, but think carefully before watching it. I enjoyed knowing very little before starting; events and revelations unfold at a beautifully judged pace and as there is no real story this pacing feels especially important. I’m desperate to share more but I won’t, I’ll preserve your Innocence.

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