Saturday, March 21, 2009


It may seem irrelevant to blog about a French movie that was released in 2000. But, last week, in a furor to beef up my Netflix queue, I added Baise-moi to the top of the list. In fact, watching it led to the creation of Everyday Rebellion.

The description of the film warned of a brutal rape scene—the film’s title means Fuck Me and was released in some markets as Rape Me—but promised a two-girl revenge spree to follow. I thought the violence might be essential to the spree. And I like another French director, Catherine Breillat, for her brutal, frankly sexual portrayals of contemporary womanhood. I thought, perhaps, that Baise-moi would have a point.

Don’t let the revenge fantasy fool you. Following the promised brutal rape scene (which includes a close-up shot of penetration), two girls, one prostitute so overcome by rage and denial that she strangles her roommate after her roommate suggests that the prostitute’s best junkie friend uses her, and the other woman, involved in the gang rape, meet in the Metro and plan to escape to Paris. But revenge never seems to be on the menu. Instead, they embark on a senseless, gleeful, killing spree sporadically interrupted by drawn-out sex scenes.

I’m not one for censorship and I’ve seen more graphically violent and sexual films than I can count. Baise-moi , however, took the cake. Maybe that was the point—to show what happens to women when they are used up and spit out. It was the repeated blurred lines between erotica and death that repeatedly turned my stomach—not to mention the nauseating possibility of two women who hungrily stalk men, have sex with them and kill them being a potential turn-on for other viewers. The brutal rape, rather than being a shocking and sickening scene to watch, fades in signifiance as the women’s avenging violence grossly outweighs the crime while maddeningly gratuitous sex scenes turn both victims into porn stars.

Perhaps Baise-moi was meant to display rape and sex as two grossly different experiences, i.e., rape as a crime of power rather than one of sex. Maybe the film is a cautionary tale, not unlike Thelma & Louise, that displays what kind of rage misogyny can cause. The problem is that viewers will likely feel more violated than vindicated. And for women, how is that "fantasy" any different from our reality?

No comments:

Post a Comment