Comfortable and Furious

Baise Moi

Everyone wants to weigh in on Baise Moi, which I’ve seen translated as both “Rape Me” and “Fuck Me,” because it is an art house film in which the actors really have sex on camera. Other films, like Romance show real sex, but not as much of it and not along side so much violence. The most interesting thing about the critical reaction to the film is that many critics seem to see something that just isn’t there. The talk about “preying mantis style sex” in which the protagonists fuck guys, then waste them. The mantis thing might have happened once but usually, the girls fuck guys, then say “thanks” or “get out” and move on. They kill guys who make unwanted advances or get in their way. They also kill about seven our eight women.

The motive behind all of the action, as far as I can tell, is power. Both of the girls have been used for male sexual gratification, one as a prostitute, the other as a rape victim and porn actress. If listening to a handful of episodes of “Love Line” has taught me anything, it’s that victims of sexual abuse often try to reestablish control of their sexuality through promiscuity. I don’t consider being a prostitute or a porn star abuse, but they are both situations in which a person’s sexuality is partially under the control of someone else, at least on the job, so I figure something similar is going on with these characters.

You can also read feminist thought into the film. After one protagonist is raped along with her friend, for example, the two have something of an ideological dispute. The friend is hysterical and takes the typical line that the experience was worse than being murdered. The protagonist takes the Camille Paglia line of “it’s just dick.” Although her feelings don’t perfectly match her words, part of the realism of the rape is the recognition that women’s reactions to being raped can differ widely.

Just because you can think about a film doesn’t mean that a lot of thought went into the film. In this case, I think we’re seeing more than sex and violence for the sake of sex and violence, but we’re not seeing anything groundbreaking. Baise Moi is part of a recent trend in cinema, especially outside of the U.S., in which sex and violence are supposed to be portrayed without varnish. In other words, films like Baise Moi, Funny Games and Fat Girl are out to depict real sex and violence instead of movie sex and violence. The rape scene in Baise Moi is more realistic and less dramatic than what we are used to, and the graphicness of the scene is probably part of that. Oddly, however, the murder scenes go the other route, with plenty of cuts and style, perhaps so we can remain sympathetic with the characters, which is something of a cop out.

So, I think Baise Moi is essentially a point on the map. It deserves mention when you rattle of a list of the films of the past ten years or so that bluntly depict sex and violence. It’s also a new formulation of the “violent duo on the run” film. It’s pretty fun to watch, largely because of the well shot sex scenes and the novelty of the film. At the same time, the story is spare, with no real twists. Girls are hurt, they meet, kill, fuck, kill, fuck, kill, fuck, kill, die. Even though the film is only 77 minutes long and has real sex in it, I was beginning to get bored by the end.

Regular Ratings

  • Story – 6
  • Direction – 6
  • Acting – 6

Ruthless Ratings

  • Number of times the movie was paused to do something else: 0
  • Number Of times you wished Carrot Top was in the movie: 2
  • Number of times you began to over-analyze the move: 1
  • Number of beers needed to fully enjoy the movie: 4