Sunday, July 17, 2016


Written & Directed By: Virgine Despentes & Coralie Trinh Tri 
Based on the Novel By: Virgine Despentes 
Cinematography By: Benoit Chamaillard 
Editor: Ailo Auguste, Francine Lemaitre & Veronique Rosa 

Cast: Karen Bach, Rafaella Anderson, Ouassini Embarek

Manu and Nadine lose their last tenuous relationship with main-stream society when Manu gets raped and Nadine sees her only friend being shot. After a chance encounter, they embark on an explosive journey of sex and murder. Perhaps as a revenge against men, perhaps as a revolt against bourgeois society, but certainly in a negation - almost joyful in its senseless violence - of all the codes of a society which has excluded, raped and humiliated them. Controversial for its violence and real sex scenes: a vividly nihilist road movie set in France.

This is a film that is very hard to sit through. Amongst the many controversial scenes and subject matter in this film throughout. Though it is hard to look away at times.

Some might try to simplify his film as being a darker version of THELMA AND LOUISE.

The film comes off as experimental as it embraces new technology and filmmaking techniques, digital film with natural lighting, extreme close-up's and long takes. Though as it seems like a film that hopes to begin a revolution or at least a dialogue about it's content and meaning. Bathing itself in extremes. It does feel like a film that is somewhat t the dawn of something. As it is an individual film that doesn't fit into a neat little package of any genre.

Because of the grainy video and it's elements this film could easily be labeled as exploitation or grindhouse. Except tit doesn't seek to glorify or titillate only to present.

The film stars two actresses who previously starred in porno films and all of the sex seems to not be simulated. Casting these less established and recognizable actresses and actors. Allows us to not be distracted by the baggage recognizable actors bring. These actors we will relate to more as their characters as the film at times could almost be a docudrama. As the filmmaking isn't grand and seems simple enough.

There are scenes of sexual violence that seem so gritty, personal and horrible. Where you feel like a hopeless witness and there is nothing you can do and after feel guilty that you couldn't that they are thankfully brief.

This is let really the tale of two femme fatales get who are angry at the world and seek vengeance against it. Though not a Vigilante. As they murder indiscriminately.

The film allows characters who would be more in the background be spotlighted in center stage. Seeking to toe some control in. Society that seems to treat them as trash.

The film is meant to be more of femanist statement. As the characters throughout slaughter and basically use men in their adventures. Which is the same way men have used women in films where they are on the run.

The difference is that this film is bleak and seems to only situate itself in the violence and bad things that happen. There is rarely any joy to be had throughout. What might jar audiences is that this film offers no judgement of the characters or their actions.

As in an early scene One character kills her roommate as she insults her constantly and berates her. She seems to kill her out of annoyance and to shut her up, but looking deeper it can be seen as her killing her as she wants her to conform more and killing her is her rebelious statement to never change

There is a rape scene that is like everything in this film graphic. That on one hand seems there to shock but also to witness the violence that the character(s) face and why they finally decide to snap and take revenge. Though strangely enough like in the film DEATH WISH. The original perpetrators are never victims to their violence only those around them and characters who seem to be the same type of their attackers.

Though surprisingly Nadine isn't affected by the rape as it has happened to her before. What seems to set her off is her brother's reaction to it more blaming her and her resolution to that is what sets her let of the story in motion. Her partner doesn't have as much a motivation. It just seems like her. she is tired of being used and literally screwed over by men and society to a degree.

Neither of these women seem too stable from the start. So it is hard to label them as average, but they are still human and suffer as many do and Just snap. They come together after seperately committing murders and see each other as almost. Mirror to themselves as they are both sex workers and seen as lower class. Adding a sense of reality to the sexual scenes So the trauma caused them to seek liberation.

Now while the sexual content seems more realistic and orchestrated. The violence seems over the top though bathed in blood and intensity. Though it happens so fast you are more shocked by the act then the aftermath.

The sexual content is interesting as it is in throughout the film. Though only one or two sex scenes seem there to actually titillate the audience and that is when one of the characters played by Rafaella Anderson seduces a hotel employee. As in the scene she is more the seductress going. After a man she finds pretty only amongst all else. Other then that scene the film doesn't sensationalize it's actions more shows sexual encounters as banal and filled with simpleness almost like a exercise that comes naturally and can be a bit animalistic.

The Manu character is also more the vixen. She is the one who is seen as more attractive. As she is the one who is also more the follower. Who can almost come across as the dumb blonde type of character in comedies. As Nadine is more the leader and tells her what to do and seems to come up with more of the ideas there is also a scene when the girls decide to pick up some young studs and end up more humiliating one that turns more into a comedically cruel scene.

The shock seems to want to imply we are not used to seeing women this violent. They are presented usually so controlled in film. That if they are ever violent it is an accident or a crime of passion or just general insanity. Here it is shown to be heartless and somewhat calculated even if it happens at random. The film came out before torture porn. So it can’t be labeled as that but to a degree though it tries to be political and allegorical it seems to fit with the independent film production company artsploitation. As that perfectly explains the film it tries to be ft but seems to enjoy reveling in the sex, violence and drugs as these ladies go through what seems like literally a suicide mission.

Though not as notes or over the years. It is definitely one of the fore bearers of French extreme horror cinema. That tends to tie in politics and contemporary social conflicts into a story. Making it more reflective of the times and not coping out to being just a fantasy or nightmare.

The film doesn't come off as all men are scum. It is more two women fighting back against he world they feel has ends loved them and made them feel like they were undeserving of existing. Though at times justified the film comes off as cruel

Like most road trip movies after a certain point the realism seems to drain and the film and it's situations become more outlandish. Though still packing a powerful punch.

I have read the book the film is based on years after I saw the film. I have to say that actually the film is more of. Censored version compared to the book. The film is just badly shot the film looks grainy and the camera seems to constantly move and be shaky so it seems more handheld coming up with. Movie that looks more like it was made in a camcorder. Which One can understand artistically as it makes the film more intimate and more you are there as well as not glamorizing anything showcasing the bleak life of the women and their world which has no polish so why should there be any in the depictions of it. Again it also allows us to sympathize and relate with the characters to remind us they are human and ordinary who have just been pushed too far. Though there is no artifice to them and they can easily be anybody.

This is one of those films I can't say I like very much or would recommend it to anyone but can understand the reasons why it might have a following and an audience. It is an audacious film that is different and sets itself apart, but seems to have a bit of a problem relating it's message to the audience. As it seems to get lost in translation to a Degree.

Grade: C

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