Anatomy Of Hell

Anatomy Of Hell


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

A man discovers a woman in the toilet at a gay club, cutting her wrists with a razor.

"Why did you do that?" he asks.

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"Because I am a woman," she says.

Can you imagine art porn? It converses in pseudo psychological mumbospeak, while experimenting with sexual fantasies. What may sound like a turn on is offensively indulgent.

The woman pays the gay man to come to her house every day and watch her lying naked on a bed, sometimes masturbating, sometimes sleeping. Out of boredom, he conducts experiments with this passive body and she allows herself to be used as an object of his curiosity.

Sex is intellectualised and debated, as if it was a theory of evolution. Even the act itself becomes devoid of expression, like surgery. Writer/director Catherine Breillat (Romance, A Ma Soeur) has adapted her novel, Pornocratie, and voices the narration herself, even though it is supposed to be the thoughts of the man.

Other than finding an original use for a soiled Tampax, the film is so far up its own orifice there seems no point to it, other than showing off porn star Rocco Siffredi's special feature and lovingly admiring Amira Casar's Goya-esque curves.

Somewhere deep in the crevices of Breillat's subconscious, creatures of the night scratch at the concept of humiliation as a sexual weapon. What is missing from this voyeuristic torture chamber is humanity. Siffredi's performance is as cold as night and Casar's suicidal woman torments the illusion of romance until it drowns in bodily fluids.

Reviewed on: 29 Aug 2004
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French intellectual take on kinky sex between a gay man and a suicidal woman.
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Chris *****

Director: Catherine Breillat

Writer: Catherine Breillat

Starring: Amira Casar, Rocco Siffredi

Year: 2004

Runtime: 72 minutes

Country: France


EIFF 2004

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