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:: Baise-Moi

It takes an extreme situation for a film to be banned in France. Yet this controversial French film is brought to Australian cinemas as a tough, uncompromising piece of work. Indeed, the English translation of the title is “F**k Me”. The film combines a violent road movie with open sex scenes, therefore making it disturbing to many people. When you consider the right, or the motive, to push boundaries in expression and creativity, “Baise-Moi” may be thought of as exceedingly explicit and graphic. It certainly is cutting-edge in the art of provocation.

Actresses Karen Bach and Raffaela Anderson are real-life porn stars and burn up the screen as Nadine and Manu respectively. The two young women feel brutalised by the horrors around them. Nadine’s wild world consists of a junkie boyfriend and nagging roommate. Manu has an abusive brother and a friend, with whom she is brutally raped, near the start of the film. In each circumstance, they are pushed over the edge and react instinctively and violently. They actually met by accident, but now they join forces to embark on a journey of sex and destruction. Both actresses hold nothing back in their depiction of the characters’ exploits.

The film focuses on the women’s thrill of vindicating an existence they believe has been damaged. One person tries to pick them up. Another just gets in their way. Another tries to put on a condom before sex. All are dispensed with gruesomely. So, the oppression that Nadine and Manu have experienced in their lives has been unleashed in their own terror in humiliating people, simply because of their want.

This is serious, in-your-face filmmaking in the use of two intriguing people. The film is fast-paced and energetic, and deals with issues of powerlessness. The cinematography provides the film with a gritty feel and the seediness of France is well captured.

To the point of its suitability for public screening and its rating of “R”. “Baise-Moi” brings unbridled rage and terrorism to the screen. Lovers of hardcore action will see explicit sexual acts. The film takes us deep inside a lifestyle that has no pretence of glamour. It gives us some knowledge of what drives people over the edge, and it is blunt and daring in the execution. The press screening that I attended saw a bigger than normal turnout and nobody walked out prior to its ending.

Take it as a choice of wanting to see extreme violence and unsimulated sexual penetration. But, in the argument of whether the French were right to ban it, or for Australian authorities to consider banning it, one needs to see the freedom of expression in the storyline. There is the context of the young women’s ill treatment. I don’t believe that adults who choose to see “Baise-Moi” won’t be overly surprised at what they see. There is no reason why the images shouldn’t be shown to adults despite the hardcore scenes lacking a certain beauty and erotic subtlety. The choice should remain.

Screening at the Lumiere Cinema