This year's Cannes Palme d’Or winner - for the feature film Titane- director Julia Ducournau is drawn to the body as a subject within her work. Junior is no different. Released in 2011 Junior is the start of Ducournau's career in coming-of-age horrors laced with humour. In this short Ducournau's portrayal of metamorphosis tackles puberty. Tom boy Justine wrestles with this psychological enigma, at its most brutal.
13 year old tomboy, Justine AKA Junior, hesitantly explores the temporal dissonance she feels between herself and her body.
Both coming-of-age and horror are genres widely monopolised by cis-male filmmakers. In Junior Docournau eliminates the male gaze. Justine’s participation in conversations of burgeoning misogyny amongst her male peers, as one of their accepted 'boyish' mates, poking misogynistic remarks herself, makes us cringe for the alienated, female subject. And makes what's about to happen to Justine even more shocking.
At some point In Junior the body is no longer seen as a symbol of femininity. Instead Junior represents a grim arrival of adolescence, where the grappling of corporeal change and social estrangement starts to take its toll. This film's combination of tragicomedy and biological horror leaves you in a state of wonder and convulsion.
Julia Ducournau 'I do think body horror is a real term, but I don’t think I make body horror. I use body horror tools in my films, which I believe are dramas, or love stories. I use these tools because I express myself like this in the way I relate to the body. But it is a completely honorable term.'