Hoard is a strange and startling coming-of-age film full of visual invention from the exciting new filmmaker Luna Carmoon

Film Review by Jamie Dunn | 13 May 2024
  • Hoard
Film title: Hoard
Director: Luna Carmoon
Starring: Saura Lightfoot Leon, Hayley Squires, Joseph Quinn, Samantha Spiro
Release date: 17 May
Certificate: 18

There are visceral movies and then there's Hoard. Luna Carmoon’s bracing debut overwhelms the senses. It’s a film concerned with grime, sweat, saliva and other bodily fluids, the textures of life so often sanitised on screen. It’s also a compassionate study of mental health and sexual awakening fractured into two time frames.

The first, set in 1984, follows single mother Cynthia (Hayley Squires), who’s raising her young daughter Maria in a house spilling over with love and rubbish. To Cynthia, they’re one and the same: the mountains of junk she's scavenged are an expression of her love for Maria. The authorities don’t see it that way, and ten years later we find a teenage Maria (now played by Saura Lightfoot Leon) living an ordinary life in care in a well-ordered home run by a lovely foster mum. But the arrival of smouldering 20-something Michael (Joseph Quinn) seems to trigger a series of sense memories that sees Maria trying to recreate the filth (and bruising intimacy) of her childhood. 

The troubling relationship that forms between Maria and Michael begins with furtive glances and dry humping, before descending to more animalistic antics, from food fighting to bullfighting. Carmoon has an eye for the same kind of scuzzy poetics that distinguished the early films of Lynne Ramsay and Andrea Arnold, but she has a bolshy style that’s all her own. Not everything coheres in Hoard, but its endless cinematic invention marks Carmoon out as one of the boldest voices to emerge on the UK scene for quite some time.

Released 17 May by Vertigo; certificate 18