THE GIRL directed by Sande Zeig, written by Zeig and Monique Wittig, produced by Dolly Hall, with Claire Keim, Agathe de la Boulaye, Cyril Lecomte and Sandra N'Kake. 84 minutes. A Mongrel Media release. Opens Friday (August 17). For venues and times, see First-Run Movies, page 69. Rating: N
lesbians hide their heads in shame when a movie as bad as The Girl is released. It's embarrassing to think, "Oh, shit, straight people out there think we like this crap." But any self-respecting dyke will laugh out loud at New York director Sande Zeig's first feature. The Girl is set in Paris and stars Agathe de la Boulaye as The Painter, who falls in love with a nightclub singer she calls The Girl (Claire Keim).
The Painter and The Girl lay eyes on each another and go have sex, and then The Painter stalks the The Girl, who seems to have a boyfriend called The Man.
The Girl says, "I love you, I hate you, I love you, I hate you" a lot to The Painter, who walks around Paris in a daze, brushing her hand through her fashionably boyish haircut. Things go bad -- in that film-noirish way -- when The Painter gets ahold of a gun.
Lesbian viewers complain, rightly, about the dearth of dyke movies, and most that do make their way into theatres are disappointing. Can you say Claire Of The Moon? The concept of The Girl is promising -- a film noir that uses the butch-femme dynamic in a sexy, existential way. But if you're going to attempt this, you'd better make damn sure you have a smart script. This film's dialogue is driven by a tired and very corny "love is a (sigh) bitch" voice-over that's giggle-worthy.
The actors are trapped in a hermetically sealed universe, and aside from their energetic sex scenes, they act as if they're oxygen-deprived. Their languid pace comes to a halt so they can soulfully look into each other's eyes. And it's not worth keeping track of how many times The Painter shows up outside The Girl's hotel to gaze forlornly at her window.
After sitting through The Girl, I dug out my copy of Bound. I needed to remind myself that a sexy, smart and hot dyke movie does exist.