Unexpected and intellectual, AAMIS (Ravening) is the new dark and sensual film by director Bhaskar Hazarika that breaks the boundaries of what modern horror/drama should be. It delves into cultural and moral taboos presented in the most extremist of forms, offering up the idea of what happens when the highest of feelings become internally repressed and taken to dangerously obsessive new levels.  

While going about her daily life and listless marriage, pediatrician Nirmali (Lima Das) meets the young Sumon (Arghadeep Baruah), a student working on his PhD involving the carnivorous habits of the northeastern peoples of India. A romantic spark quickly ignites as these two repress their feelings to avoid adultery through the sampling of exotic meats. This passion eventually reaches its breaking point, causing the two to venture down a more horrific path that cannot be reversed. 

The metaphorical subtexts run wild here, creating a highly unpredictable world full of offbeat sensations that almost makes you question what kind of movie you’re actually watching. Hazarika sets the stage that feels like a drama while containing a dark and underlying context that leaves you feeling unsure, but intrigued. The mood can become uneasy, as aspects of the character’s plight feel relatable yet sickeningly unheard of as the plot unfolds. Never have I watched a film that roller coasters in and out of so many unusual and strangely believable emotions that can be brought about through desire and circumstance.  

AAMIS’ brilliant layout takes hold of all the major senses, with taste being at the forefront. The representation of Sumon and Nirmali’s desired physical intimacy and their strong, unspeakable connection takes the guise of meat, as experiencing rare delicacies together acts as a way for them to connect. Consuming this flesh together is how they’re allowed to be physical; it subtly drives them crazy while their bond grows stronger. We feel connected to these characters through empathy and relativity, as their situation remains sinfully familiar, but taken to the extreme. The believability in all of this relies on the performances of Lima Das and Arghadeep Baruah. They both exude such innocence and passion, while combined with a zest for life. Despite the age difference, their on-screen chemistry shows no bounds and truly represents the definition of star-crossed lovers with a dash of desperation. 

A remarkably written film will make you feel countless things simultaneously, and AAMIS delivers that and more. Its enthralling, slow-burning premise remains refreshing and is sure to ignite your appetite for the bizarre. It surpasses a lot of what I’ve seen in 2019 thus far, with its use of Indian cultural context combined with intense emotions creates something truly unique, and a film that should not be missed.

AAMIS will see its World Premiere tonight at the Tribeca Film Festival, with encore screenings on Saturday, April 27 at 1:45pm and 8:30pm, Sunday, April 28 at 3:15pm and Friday, May 3 at 1pm. For more information visit www.tribecafilm.com/filmguide/aamis-2019.

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Abigail Braman

Abigail is a macabre and horror artist, primarily working in oil paints and found objects, and does freelance writing for both Nightmarish Conjurings and Pophorror. She loves all-things horror, animation, and art history, and is currently working on her first dark stop-motion animated horror short film, Cadillac Dust. Abigail is also very passionate about music, having used to play the banjo, guitar, and sing in a band called The Killer Pines. When she's not either painting, writing, working, or watching movies while doing all of these things, she's probably sleeping, or cuddling with Claude the cat (or both).
Abigail Braman
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