July 19, 2005

The Anatomy of Hell

I watched the movie with some trepidation, not that I knew anything specific about the film or its film maker Catherine Breillat, but the censor's DVD box sticker indicated "sexual themes with the use of menstrual blood". As film synopses go, Censor Bill could have been a bit more detailed and specific rather than trying to be so off-putting, but I decided to persist and watch the thing.
As a try-sexual at heart, I'm not averse trying out new things sexual and the story of a straight woman paying a gay guy to "explore" her sounded worth having a look at. As a gay guy, it would be unusual not to have been there myself - albeit unpaid! - and the idea of exploration has always appealed to me enormously. The film's premise is gloriously, pretentiously, French (I cannot imagine any other culture producing a movie like this, bar, perhaps, more humorously, the Italians, or, more gloomily, the Swedes):
"la discordance fondamentale entre sexes opposés et le dégoût suscité par le corps féminin".
It certainly deals with one of life's mysteries: what do straight guys see in women? They never seem to act as if they "like" women, considering the stereotypical portrayal in pornography or in casual banter between guys on any Big Brother episode.
Why are they disgusted by the "feminine body"? Are men and women fundamentally, sexually, socially, philosophically incompatible?
I've never had any particular illusions about the answer to those questions, but then I'm not straight, I'm not forced to seek answers to those questions or live with the consequences.
Rocco Siffredi (a real porn star credited in 281 porn films!) played his role as a gay man rather nicely as the active voyeur, but he showed a tad too much enthusiasm when it came to "performing". I wouldn't mind exploring him a bit more thoroughly, though.
And the menstrual blood as film prop and reason to alarm the censor? I had to close my eyes during the scene when the little chick was taken from its nest and bloodily squashed underfoot. Bill should have warned me about that!

UPDATE: Email from Chief Censor Bill Hastings:
Neither I nor the Classification Office was responsible for the reference to menstrual blood on the [R18] label. It was the Film and Literature Board of Review that put it there following an otherwise unsuccessful review brought by the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards to have the film banned after we had made it R18 with the simple note “Contains explicit sex scenes”.

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