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Baise Moi

my girlfriend liked it more than I did... 

Year: 2000 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

"This film contains prolonged sex scenes of an extremely explicit nature and scenes of graphic violence, which some viewers may find shocking and disturbing."

So goes the "tag-line" for the recent censor-baiting Euro-trash shocker, "Baise-Moi" (literal translation - "Rape Me"). Seemingly made as a reply to the sanitised, multiplex-friendly Hollywood thrillers that dominate the world box-office, the film offers a dark, dirty and neon-lit world, where there is seemingly no goodness, only varying shades of evil.

After a horrific double-rape (the only sequence subjected to BBFC interference), a pair of vengeful women go on a bloody rampage, dealing justice to the men they meet like psychotic Angels of Vengeance. This is pretty much all that passes for a plot - a hard-core Gallic "Thelma and Louise" if you will, but without the latter's exuberance and sense of humour, but with a don't-give-a-damn attitude that renders it almost unforgivably harsh at times.

In its native France, "Baise-Moi" kicked up an unprecedented amount of controversy, and was subsequently the first film ever in that country to receive an "18" certificate (bearing in mind that bloodbaths like "13 Ghosts" usually claim "U" certificates, this is quite a big deal). In England it was passed with only 10 seconds of cuts - 5 years ago it would have been banned outright without question, as it has been in Australia. No doubt the controversy stems in part from the way the film is shot - voyeuristic, unrepentantly bloody and filmed with a cinema-verity feel that brings the viewer even closer to the atrocities being committed, one could almost imagine this as the latest in reality TV "entertainment".

So, why should anyone want to see a film that has been described as "the worst kind of filth" and a "depressing sign of the times" by the reactive British press? Well, "Baise-Moi" is a film of astonishing power, if not subtlety. The bravery of the actors and directors in bringing a film of such unflinching strength to the world stage is unquestionable - a film that pushes the viewer deep into the heart of darkness, and leaves them there, dangling over an abyss in which people are capable of the most terrible deeds, and where crime and punishment are irrevocably intertwined. This is shocking stuff for sure, but just maybe its brilliant too. Judge for yourself.

Greg Taylor

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Screenings of this film:

2002/2003 Spring Term (35mm)