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Baise-moi
cast: Raffaëla Anderson, Karen Bach
directors: Virginie Despentes,
Coralie Trinh Thi

74 minutes (18) 2000
widescreen ratio: 1.66:1
Universal VHS rental
Also available to rent on DVD
[released 24 March]

RATING: 4/10
reviewed by Gary Couzens
Paris. Manu (Raffaëla Anderson) is gang-raped while out with a friend. She meets up with Nadine (Karen Bach), an occasional prostitute, and they go on a spree, having sex with men and killing them...
   Baise-moi is a film whose notoriety has spread before it. The title translates variously as 'Kiss Me', 'Screw Me' or 'Fuck Me,' less accurately as 'Rape Me'. Three days after its French release, its combination of un-simulated sex and graphic violence caused it to be withdrawn from 60 cinemas and its '16' rating upped two years, a category normally reserved for hardcore porn. It's currently banned in Australia, its original 'R' rating overturned by the Attorney General. In the UK, it was passed in cinemas with one 10-second cut, to a penetration shot during the rape scene. Video/DVD certification was delayed until the BBFC could gauge the reaction to the cinema release. As it happens, no one seemed much bothered, and Baise-moi was passed for home viewing with an additional two-second cut, of a gun being forced into a man's anus before being fired.
   Although it has its defenders, I can't claim Baise-moi is a particularly good film, but one shouldn't have to do that to defend its right to be shown to adults. Virginie Despentes (writer of the original novel) used to work in a porn shop. Her co-director Coralie Trinh Thi is a porn actress, as are the two leads. It does have a certain raw energy, motivated by anger against men and what they do to women, but that isn't enough to sustain the film over even this brief running time. Baise-moi is shot on grungy-looking digital video, a look that's rapidly becoming a cliché of independent cinema and which will probably date it badly in a decade or so. It reminded me of Marleen Gorris' thematically similar (and in its day, quite controversial) A Question Of Silence in 1983. But Gorris' talent was clear from the outset, and she's proven that since. Baise-moi on the other hand is simply rudimentary filmmaking, and before long becomes very dull.
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