Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Anatomy of Hell

Anatomy of Hell (Catherine Breillat, 2004) [5]
Breillat is more a provocateur than a storyteller, and if judging this film solely on its ability to shock and provoke people with its images, it succeeds beyond a doubt. The problem stems from what exactly Breillat is attempting to do simply beyond create a visceral reaction. This isn't some feminist screed against men, even though one of its main themes is men are repulsed by female anatomy, specifically the genital area. On the surface, it shares some of the anti-feminist, pro-pornography ideas stated by people like Camille Paglia. But the film is not really pornography, nor is it pro or anti-feminist, or homophobic as some reviews have stated. Well, then what is this exactly? I really don't know and that's part of my conundrum with its grade. A woman pays a gay man to watch her for a series of nights in what she calls her most "unwatchable" acts. It a series of events and images that really don't have or need to be listed other than as a means to obviously create an uncomfortable feeling for the viewers. One of the points Breillat keeps hammering away at are that men hate women, and more specifically women's bodies. Using a gay man, who supposedly would hate women more than the common man, would emphasize this feeling of repulsion even more. Breillat's main problem may be she may be a little off base on her ideas. If she's trying to create a series of images that would support her argument, she has succeeded in this film. After watching some of the surreal scenes and images, it would create a feeling of discomfort towards the female form. I, however, don't think they are nearly as disturbing or disgusting as the general perception of the them should be. For instance, I don't happen to hate the female form that much, especially the area she mostly concentrates on. Really, the film's images aren't that disturbing; in fact, there the film's strongest element. It's the cloudy ideas that lie beneath that bring Anatomy of Hell down.

No comments: