i've no idea exactly what the de- mented feminist point is behind Baise-Moi, which plays as if Troma studios had decided to make a hardcore version of Thelma And Louise.Shot in jittery hand-held video, it depicts the relationship between Manu (Raffaëla Anderson) and Nadine (Karen Bach, who works as Karen Lancaume when she makes French porn).
After Manu is raped, she shoots her boyfriend and hooks up with Nadine, who has just killed her roommate for being annoying. They then head out on a cross-country rampage, having sex with guys and killing them. No entry wounds but much red paint spattered on walls.
Despite its hardcore sex, Baise-Moi has little to offer the porn consumer. I may not be sure of director Virginie Despente's artistic intent, but I'm reasonably certain that the sex scenes are not designed to be a turn-on. Baise-Moi is defiantly anti-erotic -- it has a violent rape scene early on and generally promotes the idea that proper post-coital behaviour is for the woman to shoot the man in the head. The film's lighting brings out blemishes, and the men are, without exception, unattractive.
I'm sure there's a point to all this -- probably "Men are scum and get what they deserve," but it might be subtitled Not Very Bright Women, Stupid Choices.
I'm not morally offended by this film, although I am offended aesthetically. If one looks to art for transcendence, what use is art that simply wallows in the muck of life? I don't really need art that tells me the world is a shithole and we're all doomed.
Of course, artists' nihilism and despair are more a fashionable pose than anything real. If they believe in nothing, then why make anything? If they truly despair of the world, then the creative act itself is pointless. Despair is easy. It's hope that's difficult.
I wonder if anyone would be standing up for this movie if it had been made by an American man?
email@example.comRating: Nbaise-moi is poorly made, second- rate pornography that misguidedly believes it's an example of cutting-edge feminist filmmaking. Directed by Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi, it follows Manu (Raffaëla Anderson), who after being raped joins up with prostitute Nadine (Karen Bach) for a cross-France fucking/killing spree. These are cock-loving chicks who love sex but hate their lives and want to be caught and put out of their misery.
Is the film saying that straight women like to fuck but hate men? Or that sex means nothing yet has the power to destroy women's lives? Halfway through its 74 minutes I realized that the directors have no idea what they're driving at.
I could maybe, just maybe, handle this graphic hodge-podge if it were well-made and -acted, but it's not. The actors suck, fuck and deliver nihilistic lines without providing any insight into their characters or motivation.
If the directors intend to show that women, if tormented at the hands of men long enough, will become just like men, able to kill and fuck without guilt, I say, sorry, but that's too simple -- and not very original.
I need more. I need the filmmakers to work harder and give me a moment, a single moment, in which this debasing spectacle means something in a context beyond the screen.
One of the directors, Coralie Trinh Thi, who has acted in porn films, says that the characters' sexuality is their integrity.
But that's to use male-constucted female sexuality as a measuring stick to judge how worthwhile we are: whether we're good girls or bad, whether we're desirable in men's eyes or not.
If the filmmakers were really forward-thinking, the women would just fuck the men they want, leave and not call them the next morning.
That's subversive, but it's not very exciting. Just ask any straight girl.
BAISE-MOI written and directed by Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi, based on the book by Despentes, produced by Philippe Godeau, with Raffaëla Anderson and Karen Bach. A Toute Première Fois production. A Remstar release. 74 minutes. Opens Friday (March 23) at the Royal. For times, see Rep Cinemas, page 98.
It's called Baise-Moi, or Rape Me, and it's the most controversial film of the year. In Paris last year, after three days in theatres, it was smacked with an X rating and relegated to the city's porn screens. Toronto's Royal screens an edited version, but viewers will still be exposed to erect penises, blow jobs, penetration, a brutal rape and mass homicides. Is it art? Is it pornography? We asked senior film writer John Harkness, a straight, porn-savvy guy, and lesbo-feminist film editor Ingrid Randoja.