And you thought Interstellar was strange.
A24 has just released the first U.S. trailer for High Life, French director Claire Denis’ first English language film, which will hit cinemas later this year. The space thriller starring Robert Pattinson, Mia Goth, André “3000” and Juliette Binoche, has been getting buzz ever since it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival back in September. Rumours of giant dildos, extreme gore, and something called a “fuckbox” have only contributed to the film’s aura.
But what’s it actually about? Pattinson plays Monte, a man trying to raise his infant daughter on an abandoned spaceship that’s hurtling towards a black hole, and eventual obliteration. As it turns out, he’s the last survivor of a group death-row inmates, led by the sinister-looking Dr. Dibs (Binoche) who volunteered for a dangerous space mission in order to avoid prison. As the movie toggles back and forth between the past and the present, the mystery of what happened to the rest of the people onboard the ship slowly unravels, as father and daughter try to survive the ultimate challenge.
The trailer highlights Denis’ signature eroticism — remember how Chocolat made every mouthful seem like a tongue orgasm? — but with a troubling twist. It looks like Binoche’s characters is performing fertility experiments on the inmates, presumably to create new life in space.
It’s a project that’s been nearly 15 years in the making. According to Indiewire, Denis told Vogue Hommes she had originally pictured the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in the role of Monte. And then, after his tragic death, Pattinson caught her eye.
"When I saw Twilight, I liked it immediately because he has heartrending charisma. It's strange, though, because it would be difficult to imagine anyone more unlike Philip Seymour Hoffman physically, but Robert is very enigmatic, with a powerful presence,” she said. “He gives off an aura that immediately makes you want to film him.”
The director even sought help from the European Space Agency’s Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, to make sure the science in the film would be as accurate as possible. The result appears to be a disturbing, complex look at what it means to be human — on Earth or off it.
As for why she chose to make her English debut? "I don’t know why, but for me, people speak English — or Russian or Chinese — but definitely not French in space," she said.
Check out the full trailer below: