A short while back, a French film called "Irreversible" was causing quite a stir as it featured a brutally long and laboured rape scene which seemed to challenge the viewer to watch it unfold. That rape scene, which lasted several minutes and culminated in a sickeningly violent beating of it's victim, is amongst the most uncomfortable moments I've spent watching a film. Yet, amazingly, Irreversible was released uncut and unedited in the U.K., the U.S., and, of course, France. Which begs the question: why did the French ban Baise Moi?
While Baise Moi, a film featuring veteran actors and actresses from the French adult film industry, featured graphic hardcore sex and sensationalised violence, not a moment in that film made me as uncomfortable as the rape scene in Irreversible. Is it because, this time out, the victims are mostly men? Is it because the sex is initiated by the woman? Is it because, in the minds of the French censors, it's okay for a woman to be violently raped and beaten by a man, but not okay for men to be used for sex and disposed of by woman??
Baise Moi (Rape Me) is the story of two woman whose lives intertwine just as they've each committed a murder (one of their annoying roommate, the other of her abusive brother). The two woman begin a crime spree, fueled by rage, sex, desire, and the knowledge that it will all eventually end very badly. As the girls screw, steal, stab, stomp, and shoot their way across the French countryside, they leave behind a trail of death, as well as fragments of whatever it was that once made them human.
Baise Moi is amongst the most intense displays of feminine rage ever captured to film. While it's hardcore sex and abundance of nudity may lead many to believe it's just simple exploitation material, well...it is. It's exploiting men! Nadine (Bach) and Manu (Anderson) feed on sex, using it as a source of empowerment. They bed a man, get their fill, and kick him out...or worse. It is he who is dejected by the objectification. Then, satiated for the moment, the duo head out and continue their killing spree.
Everything you've heard about the sex and violence in this film is true. The sex is graphic, X-rated stuff, featuring full penetration (even during a disturbing rape scene), and is definitely not for the prudish. The violence is equally over-the-top, with all matter of blood, guts, and bodily fluids spewing forth from heads, chests, guts, and, in one particular case, well...you can imagine.
I think Baise Moi is a cut above the typical exploitation film. While it's not the best made, acted, or written example of the genre, it's relentless marriage of sex and violence, female empowerment, and the graphic way in which it's all depicted certainly make it a unique and important one.