The COVID pandemic and the various lockdowns in different countries around the world created a problem for filmmakers. They couldn’t work in their usual way. Do they ride out the restrictions and then carry on as if nothing had happened or do they embrace these new circumstances? Using them as inspiration. Not a man to shirk a challenge, Bertrand Bonello wrote the script for Coma during lockdown and shot it in his own home.
Locked indoors during a global health crisis, a teenager girl (Louise Labeque) spends her day and nights in a state of limbo. At an age where she is desperate to experience the world, but stuck in her room with little to do. She spends her time in apathetic media consumption, interspersed with Zoom calls with girlfriends and creating a soap opera with her Barbie Dolls. That is until she stumbles upon Patricia Coma’s (Julia Faure) Youtube channel.
First and foremost, Coma is brimming full of ideas. While his previous film Zombi Child was rather pessimistic, here Bonello offers the hope of a new day. When all this will be over. As it progresses, he takes us down a number of rabbit holes. Contemplating if we have free will or whether our fate is predestined. And that’s the crux of Coma, but expressed in a myriad of ways. It’s an unusual, odd and frighteningly original nightmarish otherness.
Coma screens at London Film Festival.