Men can be animals. In fact, when something truly awful happens you can bet your life it wasn’t a woman who did it. Whilst the scourge of toxic masculinity is arguably on the wane in the West, it still holds sway across much of the globe. It’s a man’s world and many spheres are still dominated by men. And woe betide any woman who gets in the way or finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. These animalistic tendencies are tackled in Beasts.

Constance (Diane Rouxel) has big ideas for her father’s failing farm. Along with her fiancé Bruno (Finnegan Oldfield), they have plans to make it a viable concern. Take the venture in a new direction. Move with the times. The only problem is she needs to get it agreed by the farming board. That’s where Sylvain Rousseau (Jalil Lespert) comes in. The local leader of the cooperative has always been friendly and on her side. He offers to help, but does he have an ulterior motive?

Beasts is an emotive drama which plays with gender-defined power dynamic in a way which is both nuanced and brutal. As well as focussing on misogyny, Naël Marandin’s film also delves into the world of modern agricultural France; pitting tradition against progression. Diane Rouxel is a revelation. Her performance is pitch perfect, embodying both Constance’s fragility and determination with a great authenticity.

Beasts screened at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.