Last time we spoke I found that the best way to forget about the nightmarish USA P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act – which is designed to protect freedom and democracy by, among other things, allowing police to enter and search your house without probable cause, warning or even notification after the fact – was through the delights of French Cinema.
As you know the french are very romantic, very beautiful, full of whimsy and what not. The French always know how to make you smile, like they did with AMELIE, or MR. HULOT’S HOLIDAY, or those musicals with the umbrellas and etc.
For example they got this movie called SEVEN DEADLY SINS that I just discovered. Anyone who has read my works thoroughly knows of my admiration for the director Roger Vadim, who married Jane Fonda, Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve. Also, his movies were pretty good.
Vadim is most famous for BARBARELLA, and then for SPIRITS OF THE DEAD, the edgar a. poe anthology picture he did a segment of along with whatsisname, the frenchy, as well as godard, malle, fellini, and etc. etc. SEVEN DEADLY SINS is another one along the lines of SPIRITS but this one is in black and white and has the, you know, the seven deadly sins theme. Seven segments, seven sins, all french.
This one’s got Vadim, it’s got Godard, it’s got Chabrol, it’s even got Demy who is the individual who did the young ladies of the umbrellas at the corner of cherbourg and rochefort. No fellini this time but otherwise, you got every individual who ever mattered in europe, except maybe robin hood, I don’t know.
So you got Godard in this one, he does the famous sin “sloth”. His story is about a movie producer so lazy he doesn’t want to take off his clothes when he gets down to the casting couch type business. There is a scene at the gas station where the producer asks a guy hey, wanna make a quick buck? And the guy says no, I’m not interested. So the producer lets out a disappointed sigh and goes ahead and just ties his shoe his damn self.
Vadim’s sin is “pride” (maybe that’s why his version of Dangerous Liasons says “Un film de VADIM” instead of using his full name) but he goes ahead and makes it about fuckin anyway. His is about a husband who’s cheating on his wife with a gal who is cheating on her husband, but he doesn’t realize that his wife is actually cheating on him and also there are two mannequins who are in love.
My favorite one though is the first one, “anger”, written by – whatsisdick – you know, the theater of the absurd fucker. Ionesco I believe is his name. This one kinda reminds me of ol’ Louie Boonuel, with this ridiculous story about how everybody gets a fly in their soup one Sunday and this leads to the destruction of the earth.
I really enjoyed this picture, thanks to the hard work of the French Cinematists of yesteryear. For 113 glorious minutes I was able to forget that Unelected President Bush just one month ago signed an executive order giving presidents, former presidents and former Vice Presidents the power to veto the release of any information from their time in office. So some time in the future, a hypothetical former vice president, let’s give him a random name – maybe “George H.W. Billingsley” – he could hide whatever it was he did during his tenure, whether it was picking his nose or, let’s say… for years allowing cocaine into the country to finance an army of terrorists in Nicaragua. Or you know, whatever it is.
Anyway, movies though. French movies.
An extremely kind reader of mine named Jeremiah sent me a new French picture coming out on video next week called BAISE MOI, which I figured would mean something sweet like “Kiss Me” or “Shall We Dance” or “Chocolat”, but it turns out it means “Rape Me.” Well, you can’t win ’em all.
You know now that I think about it “RAPE ME” isn’t all that delightful of a picture. I don’t know if I’d even call it “charming”. MAYBE it’s cute… at the very most. But jesus, I can’t imagine how.
But I’m not a big fan of being delighted anyway so I still enjoyed it. It’s basically your nihilistic, two women on a crime-spree, killing for fun and sometimes against the oppression of men type of movie. The genre commonly known as “Thelma and the Louise meets (blank).” It’s shot on video and looks pretty good as far as garbagey video movies go. Not as good as “JULIEN THE HALF MAN, HALF DONKEY” but miles ahead of your “BAMBOOZLED” or “ORIGINAL KINGS IN COMEDY.” It’s a hip ultraviolence type picture, the editing is real good, it moves at a good pace, the rock soundtrack keeps you pumped, kind of a female “NOWHERE TO HIDE” type of feel. Except this one was made by porn stars, so there is real fucking and sucking, as we call it in the film critic business. i.e. actual pornographic penetration type shots. And yet, with a real plot and characters, and acting.
For decades, man has yearned to create the legitimate porno. On the softcore side you had arty directors like Radley Metzger and, to a lesser extent, Andrew Blake. Or you had directors like Gregory Dark who started with hardcore like New Wave Hookers and Black Throat, but later sought legitimacy through softcore “erotic thrillers”. During the ’70s, in the Deepthroat era, the mainstream flirted with porno. Stanley Kubrick thought about making a big studio type movie with penetration. Terry Southern Wrote a book called “Blue Movie” inspired by that idea.
Even today, with Kubrick dead and only the semi-smutty Eyes Wide Shut to his name, Stanley’s dream is alive. I just read on the Ain’t It Cool News that Ridley Scott (the advertising director that made Alien years ago and has been running on fumes ever since) might be making a “semi-hardcore” sex drama. I don’t know what that means because I mean, is there penetration or not? That’s what you have to ask yourself – does the penis go into the vagina, or not?
The answer, in the case of BAISE MOI, is yes. And in a way I think this is what Kubrick wanted, because it’s a real movie with penetration. It’s not a porno, because the focus is not on the sex. Sure, these two girls will pick up a guy, and you will see the penis and the vagina, or the penis and the mouth, and you will see what they do together. But then before you know it, the girls start beating the guy to death and then it’s plot plot plot, character character character. This is not a picture you want to put on the shelf next to Virtual Blowjobs and Deep Inside Cassidy.
Really, I don’t know where these French porn stars learned how to make pictures, but they seem to know what they’re doing. There’s some good black humor, like during one actual-penetration, seriously-this-is-real-hardcore-pornography type sex scene, one of the women leans her head back, sees a sausage being cut upside down on the tv, and smiles.
But there are also some real raw, emotional moments to put us men in place. In the start of the picture there are many thuggish male characters, like you would have in your typical Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels type crime picture. One of them is very protective of our young ingenue, and when he realizes that she has been raped he does the manly thing and asks who did it as he stalks around the room, preparing to go beat or kill the culprit.
This doesn’t impress her, though. “Bastard!” she yells (except in French). “You didn’t even ask me if I was okay!” And then she shoots him between the eyes.
And seriously, this isn’t all fun and games. I hope there aren’t any sick fucks out there who will enjoy the rape scene that kicks off their crime spree. Rape scenes are unpleasant enough without the, you know, the real penetration.
Anyway back to the penetration. This is not the first real movie with penetration. There is almost a movement of this kind of smut going on now, including one called ROMANCE and I believe there was at least one serious relationship drama this year with a real blowjob thrown in for good measure. I can’t remember if it was America’s Sweethearts or if it was some independent french movie, but one of the two I believe.
Anyway I think this one is more important though, because of its asskicking if-killing-men-is-feminist-then-yes-I’m-a-feminist type feel. Think of the statement it makes to have actual porn stars making a movie like this. I mean, how seriously or unseriously can you take it? Is this director, Virginie Despentes, giving us a warning?
It is also a hoot because you can only imagine what trouble it will cause in the home video market. I mean look, I watch my share of porn. I know that when you see certain things on screen, it is your signal to start jerkin off, right? But you start enjoying yourself and picturing yourself in the scene there, and you don’t expect that before you finish, the chick is gonna jump off and kick your face in with her porn stilettos.
You know how the word got out about Romance, that there was actual penetration in it, and then you had your arthouse fellas who don’t rent porn start renting it, hoping to get a peek without the stigma that comes with renting, say, a Barely Legal title? I think the same thing will happen here, but let me tell you, when the fellas see what these chicks do… let’s just say there are gonna be a lot of perfectly good boners lost, in my opinion.
To sum up, I recommend this picture highly, unless you’re gonna jerk off.
Before I go I would like to thank the country of France, as well as Jeremiah who sent me BAISE MOI. He also sent me an early copy of BROTHER which is still the frontrunner for this year’s Outlaw Awards, although we are still all looking forward to last year’s Outlaw Awards.
I would also like to thank all the other individuals who sent me movies in the past, including Soren who sent me HIGH RISK, and the greek fellow who sent me NOWHERE TO HIDE, and the independent filmmakers who sent me the lawnmower picture and the library picture. I’m sorry I still haven’t gotten to reviewing those. I am an ungrateful bastard. I don’t know what it was about Jeremiah’s package that made it stand out.
And by the way Jeremiah thank you also for including THE OTHER SIDE OF SHAWNEE and JOHN FRIENDLY’S BIG AND SMALL #3. I’ve seen better but free porn is free porn.
One other note: apparently google bought out deja like a year ago, and now the fuckers discontinued the e-mail. So if you MUST e-mail me (and yes, you must), forget that old outlaw_69@my-deja bullshit. The new one is firstname.lastname@example.org.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.