Phillippe Godeau

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Baise-Moi Review


Bad
It's curious to see a number of provocative French imports find wide acceptance in the U.S.: notable examples being Catherine Breillat's Fat Girl, Patrice Chereau's Intimacy, and Sebastien Lifshitz's Come Undone. In the sexually graphic and aggressive Baise-moi (American translation: Rape Me), this tediously bleak and profane offering makes the aforementioned French dramas look like Disney fare. But whereas those films have a semblance of vitality and texture, Baise-moi is just an inconsolable assault on the eyes. Banned in France, this dispiriting film is based upon the controversial novel written by co-director Virginie Despentes. Baise-moi is a brutish and blunt examination of two young women's dastardly quest to exorcise their sexual demons and psychological duress. But co-directors Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi construct nothing more than a rambling, reckless, and exploitive flick that gets its kicks out of sensationalizing an otherwise needless tawdry showcase of hardcore sex and criminal intrigue. If anything, Baise-moi is an unfocused, tantalizing feminist knockoff that combines Thelma and Louise with the high-stakes hedonism of Natural Born Killers.

The film tells the warped tale of a couple of disillusioned, attractive femmes fatale named Manu and Nadine (former real-life porn actresses Karen Bach and Raffaela Anderson) who generate a perverse sense of pleasure through sexual and homicidal mayhem. The depiction of their downfall is gruesomely chronicled: porn actress Manu, a gang rape victim that has recently killed her boyfriend, hooks up with druggie Nadine, a fellow murderer who happens to have slain her roommate. Together, this raging pair hits the road and gets tangled up in the seedy world of performing carnal trysts with strange men they pick up casually along the way, emphasize that they are the ones running the show. After their carefree, fornicating fun is finished, the maniacal misfits discard their "playthings" by murdering them. Nadine and Manu feel empowered by their ravenous, dysfunctional behavior; the ability to take life and move on to more mischievousness feels very invigorating and strangely poetic to these sassy fugitives. In the meantime, the authorities are hot on their tails.

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