Coma (Dir. Bertrand Bonello, 2022)
Date: June 7, 2023
Location: 2220 Arts + Archives
Address: 2220 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057
Los Angeles premiere! Exclusive video introduction by Bonello to precede the film!
A teenager has a special power: she can bring us into her dreams but also her nightmares. Locked in her room, her only relationship to the outside world is virtual. She begins to go back and forth between dreams and reality, guided by a disturbing and mysterious YouTuber, Patricia Coma.
One of the sharpest minds in French cinema today, Bertrand Bonello (Nocturama, House of Tolerance) was bound to treat us with a commentary on the pandemic. What comes as a surprise is the dark humour in Coma. Poised somewhere between essay and fantasy, this cinematic anomaly sheds light on his fatherly efforts to connect with his daughter’s predicament and mirrors widespread anxiety about our children’s future. Making use of ever-changing formats that include animation and stop-motion, observations abound on global warming, geopolitics and our seeming inability to analyse what we see. Odd obsessions, nefarious role models and harmful perceptions of gender relations—there are many reasons why virtual life can terrify a parent. Unless, like Bonello, you know that trust is the most important gift you can bestow on your child.
Cathartic... a maximalist work made under extreme constraint.
Erika Balsom, Film Comment
In an oversaturated market for pandemic-themed films, Coma is a delirious marvel of a reminder that, in the right hands, there is no such thing as an unfeasible subject.
Rafaela Sales Ross, The Playlist
It’s Bonello’s willingness to be direct, not at the expense of his experimental impulses but in league with them, that makes [Coma] so effective—a doodle with the force of an incantation.
Adam Nayman, Cinema Scope
A work of imaginative empathy... How valuable it is to have this pandemic-era dispatch from Bonello, one of the only directors since Lynch to grasp that in dreams begin responsibility.
David Katz, The Film Stage
A heady rush of ideas... the film’s avant-garde mélange of live-action footage, abstract video art, and multiple kinds of animation just barely masks that it’s a rather simple story about a Zoomer’s inner struggle.
Pat Brown, Slant Magazine