With her characteristically unflinching gaze and courage, Catherine 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.
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I concur with the commenter below that this film goes beyond any star rating but I'm giving a 5 for the experience. I don't know what to say. Feminist philosophy set against pornographic iconography-though it's not porno. Put it this way: if Bergman shot a sex movie written by Kate Millett & Margurite Duras, it might be something like this but that still doesn't fit. This is a Breillat film & one of her most realized
WTF??! Cold as ice, hot as blood, essayistic, profound, stupid, vulgar and beautiful. Possibly a masterpiece, possibly a piece of shit. Beyond any star rating, but therefore a truly unforgettable experience. Catherine Breillat is a true artist, and without doubt the most relentlessly interesting contemporary french filmmaker.
A well-photographed film, with two leads who give fearless performances and certainly look attractive together. That said, "Anatomy of Hell" delivers exactly what people think of when they imagine a 'pretentious French movie': detached, sullen characters in barely furnished rooms, discussing sex in such a clinical way that love and life itself are robbed of any passion. I can't say I enjoyed the experience.
The last film to make me this weak-kneed and queasy was de Van's 'In My Skin', to an extent another film about women's bodies as the receptacle for lust and hate. Here Breillat removes the lust to focus on her suggested "hell", a claim warranted by seeing this in a cinema with plenty of walk-outs. The criticism is in-built, and I'm happy to cop to discomfort in return for the vile shit we put on the screen.