This week we’re excited to present a conversation with The Animal Kingdom director Thomas Cailley and The Pod Generation director Sophie Barthes as they discuss the filmmakers’ playful, up-to-the-minute experiments with genre and the use of speculative fiction to examine political realities and probe timeless emotional truths. The conversation was moderated by FLC Assistant Programmer Madeline Whittle with interpretation by Nicholas Elliott.

Thomas Cailley, whose 2014 breakout feature Love at First Fight charmed audiences with its invigorating fusion of the rom-com and coming-of-age genres, returned to Rendez-Vous with French Cinema with this year’s Opening Night selection, The Animal Kingdom, in which a darkly imaginative sci-fi premise gives way to a thoughtful, deeply felt study of fatherhood. When mankind is plagued with a mysterious infection that selectively mutates the bodies of ordinary people into animal hybrids, widower François (Romain Duris) and his teenage son Émile (Paul Kircher) must fight to survive in Cailley’s darkly imaginative exploration of a human ecosystem undergoing inexplicable—but potentially liberating—transformation.

Listen/watch below.