Just Philippot’s French Drama film, The Swarm (La Nuée in French), draws a thin line between greed and necessity. When its central protagonist loses her rationality and feeds the fat demons with small mouths, the adversaries become bloodthirsty monsters beyond control. They destroy everything on their way ahead, but who is to blame for the tragedy? Maybe, the only logical reason for this intricate confusion is to accept that “To err is human.”
The Swarm (La Nuée) doesn’t involve itself with engaging twists and turns and is instead a clear shot. It breeds an imaginative concept but fails to capture elements of a profound narrative. For many, it can be a piece of modern art, subtle without any deep meaning until forced. But for a regular/general audience, it keeps exploiting the same conflict repeatedly until a “sleep-wave” fills the screen before a swarm of locusts itself.
A single mother, Virginie Hebrard (Suliane Brahim), breeds a swarm of edible locusts (grasshoppers) on her farm to sell them in the market to earn a living and support her two kids, teenage daughter Laura and young son, Gaston.
Virginie is in considerable debt as she fails to breed the required amount of locusts for retailing. With each passing day, the quantity goes down, and insects barely lay any eggs. Her love affair, Karim, a viticulturist, lends her money for her family’s survival. Still, a self-righteous Virginie wants to earn for herself and pay off the debt as soon as possible.
Laura convinces her mother to sell off the farm and move to a new place, as her disgraceful locusts breeding make her a laughing stock in her college. Virginie, though, doesn’t entertain the idea at first, but as the horrors of the bankruptcy approach, she loses her mind. In frustration, Virginie destroys her makeshift Geodesic Dome and injures her hand accidentally. Later, she realizes that locusts started feeding on her spilled blood and soon start laying healthy eggs. As their quantity and quality increase, a wave of greed plagues Virginie’s morality, who adopts corrupt measures to breed locusts.
‘The Swarm’ Ending Explained
When Virginie’s business started flourishing with a new experimental breed of locusts raised from blood, she dropped the idea of selling the farm and moving out. Her decision to stay back created a dispute between Virginie and Laura. In Virginie’s absence, Laura destroyed her domes and released the locusts. A threatening group of bloodthirsty insects attacked Gaston and his pet goat, Huguette. Amid the chaos, Huguette ran away. Virginie later found her decomposing body on the farm with locusts still preying on its blood. Even this spine-chilling incident didn’t stop Virginie from breeding another batch of locusts from blood.
When Virginie failed to acquire blood from external sources, she started feeding her blood to breed the swarm of locusts. However, she felt weak. She jumped to more sinful acts to carry her obsession and nourish her greed. Virginie abducted her neighbor, Mr. Duvivier’s dog, Jacki, and threw it in a bag full of insects. Later, she killed a cow and drained its blood to feed the locusts. The horrors of her act unraveled when Laura found Virginie providing her blood from her body to the locusts. She instantly ran away from home.
Karim brought Laura and Virginie back to their abode. He discreetly peeped into Virginie’s greenhouse domes and found Mr. Duvivier’s dead body inside the establishment. In terror, Karim burnt the domes, but the fire failed to exterminate the pest. The provoked terminators attacked Karim and killed him. The massive cloud of locusts hunted Laura, who ran into the pond and covered herself with a flipped boat to save herself. The mighty insects terrorized her further until Virginie sliced her hand and smeared her face with blood to lure the pest towards her. The locusts devoured Virginie’s blood, and once their hunger got satisfied, they flew away.
In the end, Virginie lost much of her blood but was still breathing. She would probably survive. However, her swarm of bloodthirsty locusts would be another individual in another part of the world. Their terror doesn’t end here.
The Swarm (La Nuée in French) is a 2021 French Drama film directed by Just Philippot. It is streaming on Netflix.