‘The Swarm’ is a French thriller with supernatural touches centered on bloodthirsty insects. A locust breeder who supplies high protein meal made from insects finds an unlikely way to increase his harvest, only to find that his methods backfire with horrific results. The story skillfully weaves together the challenges that rural farmers face with a sinister plot that culminates in a film that fits firmly into its genre but is also deeply rooted in social commentary. While some aspects are clearly fictional, a lot of things in the movie ring true and could be based on reality. Let’s take a look at whether ‘The Swarm’ is based on a true story or not.
Is the swarm based on a true story?
No, ‘The Swarm’ is not based on a true story. The film is based on an idea by Jérôme Genevray, for which he wrote a screenplay with Franck Victor. The story drew on several sources and was brought to budding feature filmmaker Just Philippot by one of the film’s producers, Thierry Lounas. The idea for the script would have been refined during a feature film residency by the two writers, who then modified it to encompass the director’s vision. This allowed “The Swarm” to go from a basic genre film as originally intended to a layered examination of the issues and backgrounds of the characters, as well as a commentary on more social and economic issues. wide.
Philippot focused heavily on anchoring the film in reality, especially in its first half, with the aim of creating a link between realism and fantasy. This is clearly seen in the way the movie opens with detailed descriptions of how the main character, Virginia, raises her locusts, what she feeds them, and how much flour she can get out of them. The director also wanted to use real locusts and physical replacements instead of special effects and requested thousands of real locusts that the script called for. He was reportedly told that he could get a maximum of 6,000 of them, so he had to plan wisely how he framed his story to make the best use of them. As the film progresses, it slowly inserts more and more fantastic aspects into the story, so that by the time the climax occurs, audiences feel like anything is possible.
When it comes to the real-world realities depicted in the film, the issues producers face and the effort they must put in to overcome those challenges played a central role in the film’s main characters. Virginie and (to some extent) Karim are both troubled by the drop in prices that buyers are offering for their products. The latter, a winegrower, worries about selling his stock at a low price to a big buyer and then being forced to sell his stock at ever lower prices in the following years. These harsh realities are all the more striking when we see how passionate they are about their produce, with the film’s central character essentially putting his children’s lives at risk in hopes of increasing his farm’s production. locust.
The film also points to harsh economic practices that lead to an imbalance of these nature-centered practices, resulting in grotesque new techniques that are unnatural. One could even go so far as to say that bloodthirsty locusts are a metaphor for harmful agricultural practices (like the growth of GMO products) that turn natural resources into harmful food.
Finally, the supernatural and thriller aspects of the film cannot be ignored, and Philippot admits to being inspired by classics like “Alien” and “Jurassic Park”, which spawned iconic monsters. He also acknowledges the inspiration from Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” which also features a central character who puts his family in danger due to his obsession with his job, much like Virginia. Here the director once again draws attention to the fact that the central figure simply loses control, but not his mind. The distinction between getting carried away and going mad is clearly made, with Virginia ultimately saving the day by using her knowledge of locusts that are susceptible to drowning.
“The Swarm” is unmistakably a fantasy thriller that channels enough of the genre’s essential ingredients to appeal to audiences looking for a stunning film. However, between its gruesome and sinister plot points lies a subtle and deep social commentary, as well as an empathetic look at the relationships and economics of invisible farmers and producers in rural areas.
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