François, a filmmaker, is preparing a thriller. During screen tests for a brief nude scene with an actress, he discovers the pleasure some women can have in the transgression of minor erotic taboos. An exploration of sexuality by acclaimed French director Jean-Claude Brisseau.
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A metaphysical apologia for the filmmaker's personal indiscretions, but also an attempt to understand the motivations of the scandal from the outside in. As ever, Brisseau clouds events in the influence of the supernatural; removing the film two steps from reality to suggest a vast and cosmic tapestry where fantastical forces manipulate our fates. This provides a mirror to his own manipulation of the actors onscreen.
I was going to give this 4 stars but the ending is so dreadful including awful music I hate that. A good example of why I always watch a film all the way through before rating it here on Mubi. https://mubi.com/lists/erotic-andor-perverse
Is there room to over-think this film? Not to suggest that the script lacks meaning. But let's not mince words: if you have any appreciation for the female form, then you'll likely find that "Exterminating Angels" has some of the most sumptuously lit and tantalizingly choreographed scenes of sapphic love to ever grace an 'arthouse' film. I'm not sure what Brisseau is up to but there's a shameful thrill in viewing it.
It struck me as very pretentious. I suppose if there had been some irony or humor to the situations it might have been more enjoyable as a movie, but as it was it was rather hollow, albeit beautifully filmed, sex.
This is not an exploration of women's sexuality, desires and taboos - it is just a 100min living out of a middle aged male fantasising about women and being fantasised about BY them. When the female leads all profess love for the male lead, it's almost embarrassing to watch. I can just imagine the director, doing what he gets the women to do, as he sat there planning this turgid nonsense. Onanistic drivel.
The meta-layer of what actually happened to Brissseau and to what extent it is truthfully revealed in this film notwithstanding, the Exterminating Angels is rather boring to watch. It is banal in almost every sense but its subject matter which is naturally portrayed and examined much more intriguingly in Eyes Wide Shut.