When it comes to on-screen sex and violence it takes a lot to unnerve the French authorities, but Baise-Moi
managed it. Three days after the film opened it was pulled from over 60 cinemas across the country, causing a major rumpus, and only allowed back after it had been reclassified X, a category normally reserved for hard-core porn. The title translates literally as "Fuck me", which pretty well sums up the brash, in-your-face style of the film.
The classification was not inappropriate, given that the film features plenty of genuine, unsimulated sex. Anyone hoping for arousal, though, might do better to look elsewhere. Baise-Moi is written and directed by Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi, working from Despentes' novel, and stars Karen Bach and Rafaella Anderson. Despentes is an ex-prostitute, while Trinh Thi, Bach and Anderson have all acted in porno movies, and what they give us here is sex as female vengeance, a screwing-and-killing rampage that turns the tables on a violent male world. The movie's been compared to Thelma and Louise, but a closer comparison might be with Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer.
As in most porno movies, the plot is the merest pretext. Nadine (Bach) is a part-time prostitute, Manu (Anderson) is a rape victim. When they meet up both have just killed, more by chance than design. On a whim they link up and take off across country, screwing and killing almost every man they meet. They kill a few women, too, just to even things up. The film's shot on crude digital video; technique is minimal and the acting is rudimentary. There's a certain raw energy that prevents the film from becoming totally depressing but the brief running time (77 minutes) comes as something of a relief. --Philip Kemp
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: French ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN, SPECIAL FEATURES: Cast/Crew Interview(s), Interactive Menu, Making Of, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: BAISE-MOI, based on the controversial novel written by codirector Virginie Despentes, is a vivid and brutal reality-based exploration of two women's attempts to reclaim their sexual power. Real-life p*rn stars Raffaela Anderson and Karen Bach star as the film's THELMA AND LOUISE-style anti-heros. Manu (Raffaela Anderson), a p*rn actress, is the victim of a violent g*ng r*pe, depicted in the first fifteen minutes of the film, that fills her with internal rage and violent aggression. She sets out on a road trip and meets Delphine (Karen Bach), a drug-addled former prostitute with an aggressive streak. Delphine and Manu join forces and begin on a revenge-fueled sexual rampage, seducing and killing with reckless abandon. Delphine and Manu are furious and empowered by their sexual prowess; they wield their guns and lingerie-clad bodies like true professionals. Adrenaline drives their killing spree, set to a pounding punk rock score, and murder becomes implicitly linked to sexual gratification. Directors Virginie Despentes (a former prostitute) and Coralie Trinh Thi (a former p*rn actress) shot the film in gritty digital video at a fast-paced reckless clip of 76 minutes, heightening the acute sense of urgency and nihilistic desperation of the two women. Despentes and Trinh Thi blur the lines between cinema and reality and delve into the dark recesses of female psychology. By shooting real scenes and employing former p*rn actresses, they create a compelling and daring film that sets the conventional notions of female sexual appetite on end.
SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Stockholm Film Festival, ...Baise-Moi