Monday, September 20, 2010

ANATOMY OF HELL (French) (2004)

“A girl is man’s sickness.”

A young homosexual man was paid to spare few nights with a lonely young woman saved from her attempt to commit suicide. It’s first night and against his unwillingness or interest, he keeps staring full frontal nudity of the woman lying in her bed.
‘The fragility of female flesh inspires disgust or brutality,’ said the man.
‘What should we fear most? Nothingness or brutality?’ replied the woman.
Its opening of the film which rather than arousing your basic instinct, hits you hard to contemplate what you’re going to watch next. This is my second Catherine Breillat film after equally brilliant ‘Fat Girl’ and I must say she’s the auteur as far as warfare of gender sexuality is concerned.

Breillat is bold and extreme filmmaker challenging the norm and social stereotypes of women sexuality that ends up showing us repressive and demure woman. Her portrayal completely refrains from erotic male gaze what we commonly found in commercial films. Woman director like her can only possible in France! Her explicit obsession of sex and violence demands sound contemplation. It’s a loaded feminist text critiquing man’s hypocrisy, patriarchal mindsets full of threatening dual moral codes with perpetually futile and foolish myths about woman’s chastity. There’s just few flashbacks of childhood showing us how innocent curiosity leading to the instincts of sex and violence transforming a boy into a man and a girl into a woman in a long run.

Blood is highlighted as metaphor in many scenes; in the beginning we see the lonely lady slits her wrist and her blood stained clothes as she returns from hospital, the stains of blood in open ending too and the shocking and explicit images- a man shocked to see blood on penis and another where the woman and the man shares a water dipped with vaginal blood!!! Seems disgusting and irritating on surface isn’t it?
But its Breillat’s brilliant shocking tactics to prove her point about paradox of gender sexuality with bipolar world of pleasure and pain, man and woman and self and other. For woman, blood is acceptable part of their existence attached by nature contrast to man, it’s shocking, disgusting horror. As said in one of the line uttered by the woman- “… the body of women calls for mutilation and yet no part of it is excessive. Men rant against something that’s invisible.”
Disturbing but strong feminist film with explicit sex and violence…recommended only to selected mature audience.