The world premiere of Mia Wasikowska's new movie gave its Cannes audience too much to swallow.
Club Zero, which premiered Monday at the Cannes Film Festival, features a gross-out vomit scene so shocking that some audience members had to look away. The teen-cult thriller from director Jessica Hausner stars Wasikowska as Miss Novak, a nutrition teacher at an elite prep school who preaches the importance of "Conscious Eating" — a thinly veiled way of teaching teenagers to starve themselves. By the time parents catch on, the teacher's cult-like influence has taken root.
The disturbing sequence in question sees a student (played by newcomer Ksenia Devriendt) vomit a meal back onto her plate and eat the regurgitated food while her parents watch.
PEOPLE reports that the scene prompted some audience members to gasp or nervously laugh, while one viewer asked aloud, "Is it over yet?"
Despite the vocal reactions to the scene, Club Zero received a five-minute standing ovation.
VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images Ksenia Devriendt, Luke Barker, Mia Wasikowska, Mathieu Demy, Elsa Zylberstein, Jessica Hausner, Amir El-Masry, Florence Baker and Gwen Currant
The film is notably competing for the festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or — which was last awarded to Triangle of Sadness, another dark satire which happens to feature a polarizing 15-minute vomit sequence. The film from Ruben Östlund debuted to critical acclaim and eventually received a Best Picture nomination at the 2023 Academy Awards ceremony.
Prior to that shocking moment, the Club Zero screening opened with a disclaimer featuring a trigger warning for scenes of disordered eating. When the credits rolled at the end, they included a note that no actors lost weight to film the movie. Hausner has said that the film is meant to question how parents can stay up to date on what is happening at their children's schools while exploring the prevalence of eating disorders.
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