Synopsis: Featuring two veterans of the French adult film industry, Baise Moi tells the story of Manu and Nadine. Manu is violently raped by a group of savage young thugs. Nadine, a tough-skinned prostitute, sells her body but refuses to give up her soul. Chance unites them and together they decide to alter their destinies. Angry at the world, they embark on a twisted, rage-filled road trip.
XXX film/strong> x Thelma and Louise x Natural Born Killers = Baise-moi
Boy, have I ever heard of this film a lot over the last decade! And not in any descriptive way, or in massive critical acclaim, either – I just kept hearing how controversial it is supposed to be. It was referenced from time to time whenever I read about films, but I didn’t understand what made it controversial, really, until I recently read the back of the box at a video store and discovered that it was due to all the uncensored sex.
Personally, I always found the title slightly “in your face” and I felt awkward, if not slightly embarrassed, at the thought of it – especially in light of the english translation, which transform the original “Fuck me” to “Rape me”. That thought alone made me recoil in horror and pushed me away from the film all this time; the last I wanted to do was to watch a movie that would casually throw rape at its audience like it was a desirable thing.
It’s since occurred to me that it’s quite remarkable that, in North America, we can title a film ‘Rape Me’, but not ‘Fuck Me’. Isn’t that amazing? Using coarse language to describe sex can apparently make a film unmarketable, but offering sexual violence in its stead is considered perfectly suitable? Doesn’t this say something about our attitudes with regards to sex versus violence – let alone about our attitudes about violence towards women (given that most victims of rape are women)? It’s seriously messed up, when you think about it…
Anyway, after discussing it with our local indie DVD rental store’s manager and realising that it was more akin to ‘Thelma and Louise’ than ‘Irreversible’, but with hardcore sex in it, I was a little less concerned by it. The guy told me that it had a few brutal moments, but it didn’t sound any worse than modern horror film violence, so I figure that I might as well take a chance and see it finally, once and for all.
‘Baise-moi’ is, in the end, a relatively crummy film:
– The acting is merely okay. I’ve seen much better, and I’ve seen worse.
– The story is pretty plain. Déjà vu, really.
– The storytelling was jagged, uneven. It often suffered from editing issues and lack of continuity; we sometimes didn’t know how we got from one point to the other.
– It’s a p!$$-poor production, of a quality no greater than the average porn film; it was shot on video, so it lacks finesse to say the least.
The music was an outstanding feature of the film – which is not to say that it was good. Hardly. It was all indie punk, rock, electro stuff of a lower calibre – unfortunately, because I like all those genres. What made it notable was just how present it was, due to the volume and how ill-suited it often was in the scenes; it created a rather unique atmosphere.
As for the on-screen sex, explicit as it was, it was absolutely not sexy. It was anything but, really. Furthermore, one of the two leads (Raffaëla Anderson?) was actually kind of creepy-looking; she was not alluring at all in the state she was in (perhaps that was intentional…?). And everyone in the picture seemed sleazy, dirty or scummy hoods. Watching it was kind of a filthy experience, quite frankly.
The film is considered important from a censorship perspective in many countries, because it was banned in some areas and, in others, ratings had to be reconsidered to accommodate this film – which is explicit enough to be considered pornographic but, conversely, is also not titillating (thereby not making pornographic, by some accounts – leaving it drifting in a grey zone).
While I find this somewhat interesting, frankly, I don’t much care: I found ‘Baise-moi’ completely empty, devoid of any redeeming value.
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