21 April 2000

Baise-moi (2000)

CAST: Raffaëla Anderson - Manu; Karen Lancaume - Nadine
CO-DIRECTORS: Virginie Despentes, Coralie Trinh Thi
CO-WRITING CREDITS: Virginie Despentes, Coralie Trinh Thi, adapted from Despentes’s novel.
PRODUCERS: Phillippe Godeau, Dominique Chiron
DISTRIBUTOR: Wild Bunch

IN A NUTSHELL:

In a grimy contemporary urban France, Nadine (Lancaume), a bored prostitute, and Manu (Anderson), a rape victim, hook up by chance and hit the road on a wanton sex tour and thrill-kill crime spree, fucking and killing almost anyone who wanders into camera-shot, and attracting a manhunt with inevitable consequences.
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So extreme it was banned in its native France, BAISE-MOI is screening here as ‘FUCK ME’, and in the US as ‘RAPE ME’. While you're at it, you could add ‘SHOOT HER’, ‘STOMP ON HIS FACE’, ‘BLOW THIS OUT YOUR ARSE’ and ‘FUCK YOU TOO’. Starring two actual porn stars, co-written and directed by a female team whose credits include 'CUNT SUCKING SLUTS 5', this psychotic yet ice-cool satire is a rotten stew of gratuitous violence, actual hard core sex, and feminist buddy flick, shamelessly referencing THELMA & LOUISE. 

The Office of Film and Literature Classification reckons STRONG SEXUAL VIOLENCE, HIGH LEVEL VIOLENCE, ACTUAL SEX, and ADULT THEMES, and that’s a fair call: a rape scene that repels you from the screen is the prelude to a rampage of quasi-feminist revenge, a brutal, sadistic assault on the world of the film and those that have to view it. That said, if you can stomach the violence – which is no less brutal than a thousand American teen horror flicks. And if you can ‘handle’ pornography the two leads can really act. 


This is ultimately a bitter place where ‘the money shot’ meets ‘Iron Jane’ polemics meet arthouse pretensions. Despite being designed to solicit maximum mass-media outrage, BAISE-MOI will probably have more lasting impact on the adult film industry it pillories, parodies and attacks.

ANY GOOD?

Is it just payback for every act of sexual violence against women shot on film? Or is it merely a bunch of porno professionals out to demonstrate that punk’s not dead? Either way, the filmmakers couldn’t care less what we think: ‘FUCK US’.

** (Two stars)

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First published in Empire

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