On popular demand: My review of Baise-moi
, written somewhen last October, hastily and badly translated.
„We´re following our lucky star and let the dark half of our souls say what it likes.“ – Two women are on their way through rural France, haunted by the law. Still, it´s a long way from the hip pseudo-feminism of Ridley Scott´s Thelma & Lousie
: Where Manu (Raffalea Anderson) and Nadne (Karen Bach) arrive they only leave a trail of blood (and occasionally, sperm) They´re murderous journey can´t be instrumentalized for any ideology trying to reach further than pure provocation. Which is obvious from the title: Baise-moi/Fuck me
is the cinematic equivalent of givcing somebody the finger.
In France the plan of the two female directors (Virginie Despentes, Coralie Trinh Thi) worked: Upon release promptly a scandal ensued; ultra-right-wingers demanded censorship;screenings outside of porn theaters were forbidden which alarmed the local film elite. Led by (little surprise there) Catherine Breillat, reputable director from Jean-Luc Godard to Claire Denis expressed solidarity with theatre owners who continued to play the film, legal consequences notwithstanding: “It´s not about defending Baise-moi
it´s about liberty as such.” Quite fitting, since Baise-moi
is a film about freedom (if only the freedom to be amoral): in its single-minded insistence on being small and ugly, it´s an almost touching endeavour. Barely 80 minutes long, it´s a haphazardly photographed (on garish DV, of course), absent-mindedly edited succesion of (real) hardcore pornography and (phony) violence that just about manages avoiding monotony thanks to its snotty punk spirit. It´s fueled by anger going absolutely, definitely nowhere.
Even more consequent is the decision on part of its makers to talk about their absolute ineptitude in staging scenes – just to segue into quoting John Woo, Quentin Tarantino and Abel Ferrara as important predecessors. While the latter probed the shifty territory between moral and exploitation in 1981´s Ms. 45
is confined to a state of denial that leads into self-destruction via post-modern sensibility: the heroines derive perverse pleasure from executing sympathizers, complain about their badly written dialogue and head towards a resolution whose adherence to convention is the most outrageous aspect of a film dedicated to nothing but effrontery.