Fargeat’s ‘The Substance’ Starring Demi Moore, Emerges as a Cannes Blockbuster

Fargeat’s ‘The Substance’ Starring Demi Moore, Emerges as a Cannes Blockbuster

Starring Demi Moore, The Substance is so far shaping up to be one of the hottest films of the year. It received a thirteen-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival the other day, and has already been picked up by distributors worldwide, who are aiming for a September 20 release in the United States.

Match Factory, whose parent company is Mubi, has already acquired rights to The Substance in North America, the United Kingdom, Austria, the Benelux countries, Germany, Ireland, and Latin America. The rights-holders are also negotiating for distribution rights in other European and Asian countries, as well as in Australia and New Zealand.

Directed by Coralie Fargeat, The Substance has been described as a “body horror” film about a once-glamorous actress, played by Moore, who’s being cast aside in favor of a younger woman, played by Margaret Qualley. Out of desperation, Moore’s character uses a questionable black-market cell-replicating drug to restore her body image.

Fargeat was acclaimed for her 2017 French-language film Revenge, about a woman (Matilda Lutz) fighting back against the men in her life who had brutally assaulted her. At a press conference in Cannes, Fargeat termed The Substance’s extreme violence as a metaphor for the violence inflicted on women who are expected to adhere to beauty standards at the expense of their health and well-being.

Demi Moore recently appeared as Olivia in the 2022 film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, and appeared in eight televised episodes of Ryan Murphy’s Feud. Besides Moore and Qualley, the cast of The Substance includes Dennis Quaid, Gore Abrams, Hugo Diego Garcia, Olivier Reyna, and Tiffany Hofstetter.

In his review for Deadline, Damon Wise lauded the aesthetic excellence of The Substance, writing: “Imagine David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive fused in a telepod with David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers, add the unbelievably dynamic pairing of Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley, process it through the ultra-vivid color palette that is Fargeat’s hyper-saturated imagination, sprinkle a bit of J.G. Ballard on top, and you have the perfect breakout genre movie of the year.”

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