Life before life

I would say this underrated French film is a film I have never heard of. Anna and Lucie are two good friends. The story follows 15 years later when Lucie tells Anna not to go to this certain house where Anna’s whole family gets slathered leaving Anna alone and going around the house in shock and in a state of trauma. Soon enough Anna discovers a hole leading to a room down the staircase.


I found it creepy that there was an underground laboratory with plastered photos of heavily tortured people. One was obviously burnt to death and one was heavily stabbed. Made it disturbing that these kinds of photo are posted. The room looked very equipped and up to date; obviously it was built for something advanced. The interior is steel and the house seemed pretty modern. This gave me a hint that it is maintained and even though there were no people when Anna was exploring it people work there.


Anna discovers a woman, heavily beaten, I could say “almost dead”, slashes and scratches all over her body, and has a metal helmet attached to the very flesh of her skull. For me, my initial thought would be to run away from the girl but Anna’s strong character approached her and held her hand. The victim appeared to be scared and traumatized but at the same time was just longing for someone’s touch. I found this scene very dwindling. The victim looked extremely beaten and I really felt bad for her. In this part of the movie, I thought everything was will turn out fine. Anna was slowly helping the victim and the victim was slowly accepting her help. It was painful to watch Anna take out the helmet with attached with nails and when she asked put her in a bathtub. I thought it was already going well until the victim runs around the house like a crazy person trying to kill herself and ended up getting shot by armed and suited men. Immediately they took Anna downstairs and tied her up to meet their perhaps “boss”. I honestly did not expect an old lady to appear. This scene made me question her role in the movie and her capabilities. Anna was brought to a room and was tied down to a chair.


The stages of torture began, getting beaten up; eating the same food (with no time to chew or whatsoever), shaving of her hair, and it goes on. Initially, I thought she would not survive up until the last stage when she got skinned alive. The movie in general disturbed me because of the physical abuse but, to skin her alive? I really thought she was going to die. Also gave me an idea that it was some sort of miracle already. She was able to speak and to a shock that nobody could believe. The people called up the old lady and a gathering in her house was denounced. It fascinated me that they are almost the same type of people, same age group, same taste (vintage Benz), and their fascination of the outcome. Mademoiselle announces that Anna survived Martyrdom and was able to describe “the world beyond life”.


I did not expect anything from this movie. I thought it was going to be a chill horror film but to my surprise it was very gory. The amount of blood, chains, whipping, and torture the girl experienced made me cringe every time. It appeared as if the girl had to endure all stages of pain and torture to satisfy an old lady’s search. Anna did and it was a very big astonishment to Mademoiselle and she ended up killing herself. I think she killed herself cause she final found a “witness” (meaning of martyr) of what she wanted to find out which is — “the world beyond life”.



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