Dir.: Janis Nords; Cast: Vilis Daudzins, Ieva Puke, Raimonds Celms, Indra Brike; Latvia/Poland/Lithuania 2017, 80 min.
After tackling the thorny subject of child crime in his Berlinale Grand Prix winner Mother I love You, Janis Nords comes to Cannes Market with an atmospheric thriller that scratches at the edges of horror set in a remote Latvian community where women are the only civilising influence in a community where man and beast converge.
The women here are a tough bunch and none more so than physiotherapist Jana (Puke), whose ex-cop husband Didzis (Daudzius) has lost part of his left leg is and only employable as a dog handler. To makes matters worse, the challenge to his masculinity has reduced Didzis to an hostile neurotic who feeds off his three Alsatians’ aggression, showing them affection in return, particularly his favourite Gina. The neglected Jana is surprised by her own sexual frustration that surfaces while treating seventeen year old Roberts (Celms) at the gym where she practices, and this incident provides a inventive vein of dark humour and tension to the intriguing narrative. Driving home one night, Jana and Didsis collide with a rabid boar which leaves its infected blood dripping from their truck bumper, and the dogs sniff this out. What follows is a harrowing hunt for the rapid beasts, which attack some students of the school. Meanwhile, Didzis tracks down an enemy of his own, in the shape of Roberts, whose mother soon emerges as a repressive zealot, as the grim storyline reveals that everyone’s life in danger from either from the animal kingdom or the human one.
Matthew A. Gossett’s script is taut and mischievous complimented by DoP Tobias Datum suggestive images, mainly shot at night and in the gloaming when the difference between dogs and humans is distinguishable only by their form. This is a thriller where testosterone driven males and infected dogs seem to be at war at all costs. Foam is more than just symbolic: under the superficial veneer of civilised society, men are deteriorating into atavistic creatures, just like local wild dogs. Made a shoestring, and none the worst for it, FOAM is really frightening at times, as Nords plays on the darkest fears of the human psyche in this tense little B-picture, which would make Sam Fuller proud.
CANNES FILM FESTIVAL 2018 | MARKET SECTION | Winner of the Moscow Critics’ Award