Dir: Virginie Despentes, Coralie Trinh Thi, 2000
Up until A Serbian Film, 2000’s French thriller Baise-Moi (translated as Fuck Me and not Rape Me, as is commonly misunderstood) quite possibly held the title of the most controversial film of all time. If not, then it’s definitely up there, in the top three.
Manu (Rafaela Anderson) and her friend are violently raped leaving her angry at their treatment from men.
Nadine (Karen Bach aka Karen Lancaume) is a prostitute who kills her roommate.
The two girls, eventually, meet and set off on a misandric rampage of death.
Based on the novel by Despentes, Baise-Moi had the core ingredients to be a damn good film.
Sadly, however, Despentes and Thi don’t have the talent to make a good film, relying on shock tactics to get noticed.
It’s, basically, a porno badly disguised as art.
The directors are former sex workers, the two leads were porn stars and it’s filled with hardcore sex scenes.
I’ll be honest with you, I’ve never understood the point of putting hardcore in mainstream films. That’s why we have porno. It’s two different genres. I wouldn’t expect a porno to have a deep and involving plot so why would I expect porn in film? It just doesn’t belong.
It is a sexploitation film. There’s no getting around it. If you were to take the hardcore scenes out, you would still have the same film. They add nothing to it.
At running no more than 77 minutes, it is a , mercifully, short as the film is so incredibly dull. The sex scenes are there purely to relieve the boredom and bolster controversy.
Bach, as sex worker Nadine, is beautiful and sexy and does alleviate the tedium.
Anderson as Manu is made to look drab and plain, providing an element of grittiness. The two characters are in contrast to each other.
It does have a misandric bent to it. Having never read the book, I can’t say how closely the film follows or whether it has that same agenda but, seeing as in it was written by one of the directors, I can only guess that it probably does.
Knowing of her past profession, it’s entirely possible that Despentes wrote the book with a feeling of anger towards men, concluding that we all use women for sexual gratification.
But, and I must stress this, this is entirely conjecture and simply what I gathered from the film.
The inclusion of Rafaella Anderson is also noteworthy as she has often been vocal against porn and speaking of the alleged abuses, despite being a successful star in the adult world.
Karen Bach was another success in blue movies but, sadly, ended her life with an overdose of temazepam.
Not a career choice, Bach entered the industry purely as a way to make some quick money.
Like Anderson, Bach had commented about the porn industry and the degradation of women that perform in it.
If you add all these factors together, it does paint a picture of angry women with a grudge against men.
That in itself wouldn’t stop the film from being crap. People are allowed to have views, regardless of whether we like or agree with them.
What makes the film crap is the lack of action and a reliance on the hardcore sex.
On it’s release, Baise-Moi caused a whole heap of controversy, the world over.
Banned in Australia, heavily censored in other countries, the film even had the poster refused exhibition for fear that the title could offend French speaking citizens and guests.
Surprisingly, the film suffered very little at the BBFC with the board acknowledging that it was a serious work and not a sex one who’s sole intention would be to sexually arouse and stimulate.
A brief, ten second shot of one of the rapists penis penetrating Anderson’s vagina in the rape scene was removed as it was felt that this made the scene porn graphic and titillating.
With this cut made, the film was passed ’18’.
Even more surprising is that the board passed the video and DVD with only the the previous ten seconds of cuts being made and a small two second cut of Anderson pressing her gun into a man’s anus. All the hardcore scenes were left uncut. It was, also, passed ’18’.
Thirteen years later, the board was asked to look at the film again for a Blu Ray release. It sailed through the board, totally uncut with all the censored footage reinstated.
However, the film is still banned in Australia even in a cut form.
Despite a censored version being shown on the World Movies channel, the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) still refused to grant the film a rating, rendering it banned.
As rape and revenge movies go, this is a pretty poor effort.
Even the sex isn’t all that great. You’d do better to watch a proper porno.
A boring, cynical entry in a series of extreme French films that are best avoided.