With her characteristically unflinching gaze and courage, Breillat takes her exploration of sexuality, desire and the relationship between men and women to the limit. A pure, painterly, often surreal study in sex and the body.
He doesn’t like women. She will pay him to look at her, as she says, ‘from the angle from which she should never be viewed’. It will cost you, he says. She says: I’ll pay you. So begins Anatomie de l’enfer, based on Breillat’s own novel Pornocratie. Following this post-night club encounter, the film moves to its sole location: a house in the middle of nowhere, perched on the cliffs. Over four nights, the man makes his way to this sparsely decorated house to meet this beautiful woman. If the nature of their encounter would seem to follow the formula of an erotic film, Breillat takes us far beyond such a mundane premise, as one would expect from a film maker who over ten films has explored, often with searing intensity and a relentless gaze, the relationship between men and women and the nature of female desire. While the spare interiors, the careful arrangement and framing of these bodies in space, and the enormously delicate photography make this perhaps Breillat’s most composed, painterly film, Anatomie de l’enfer also takes us to the end of the road that began so directly with her first film. `This time I have decided to see it through to the end. I have decided that I couldn’t go any further, that the Xth would be the conclusion of a decalogue. The X of X-rated film.’ Catherine Breillat once again proves herself to be one of the most risk-taking and challenging of contemporary directors. –IFFR
Author and filmmaker Catherine Breillat has gained a reputation as one of the most controversial women in contemporary arts and letters for her work, which often focuses on the erotic and emotional lives of young women, as told from the woman’s perspective. Born in Bressuire, France, in 1948, Breillat developed a reputation for challenging public mores early on; at the age of 17, she published her first novel, L’homme facile, which became a cause célèbre for its blunt language and open depiction of sexual subject matter. The controversy generated by L’homme facile gave Breillat enough recognition that she was able to pursue a career as a writer, and between 1968 and 1975, she published three novels and a stage drama, as well as making her acting debut with a small role in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris. In 1975, Breillat moved behind the camera by writing, designing, and directing Une vraie jeune fille, which was adapted from one of Breillat’s… read more
"The elastic resistance of a boy's anus doesn't lie about the tightness of his lower intestine" has to be the most well thought-out sentence in the history of cinema. Not sure what to make of it. Unforgettable and for that it might deserve 5 stars, but still, I can't bring myself to cash out on a film like this. One solid star!
A savage reductive and tendentious vision of human sexuality that for me is only the other side of the coin of patriarchal essentializing. But whatever one thinks of her polemical vision (I find it repelling), it is utterly uncompromising and rigorous in its own way. I wish I could say I liked the film (I did not), but I cannot claim that it is not a realized aesthetic product.
The premise of this movie is so embarrassingly, eye-rollingly body essentialist and 2nd wave. Just the fact that she cast a straight porn star to play a gay man who she sees as the ultimate hater of women (because to her women and vagina are the same thing) is annoying. Gay men's misogyny is a worthy and important issue to explore but this sounds like a really clueless and frankly homo/transphobic way to go about it.