Cachexia is one of those films that psychologically challenges its viewers. The film involves an experiment going awry that is realistic with an unsettling and engrossing tone. Writer and director Alina Galimullina challenges her audiences by presenting a distressing situation. Taking place around Russia, Cachexia is one of the most real experiences I have seen in some time. The film left me with questions including whether the participants of the experiment will survive.
The film focuses on a group of college students in Russia. They agree to participate in a hunger experiment. The experiment consists of a professor locking the students in a basement for a few weeks to see how they can survive. The professor also broadcasts them being locked in the basement. The students seem excited about the experiment in the beginning, but as more time passes without food or water, they begin to suffer implications which create a dangerous scenario. With the professor’s broadcast growing, his judgments become poorer. Because the students are locked in tight quarters, they suffer various psychological problems and their resentment builds. They begin to hallucinate and are reminded of why they are doing this experiment, i.e., to replicate the Russian famine of the early 1920 in the Volga region.
Cachexia reminded me of The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015) only this movie showed more realistic and distressing elements throughout the study. Whereas The Stanford Prison Experiment takes place at a college, Cachexia tests its limits with hatred, frustration, and starvation. Galimullina is faithful to her vision of depicting hunger with Cachexia. It is a vivid and disturbing portrayal that may be hard for some to handle. However, I could not keep my eyes away from this invigorating experiment of a film. Cachexia is so incredibly fascinating.
Cachexia can be found through the Film Girl Film Festival virtually at filmgirlfilm.com. The fest runs through March 31. For those who like psychological tales with some horror blended in, Cachexia is that film. For those who can handle suspense like this, Cachexia is not to be missed. Three and a half stars for Cachexia.