Anatomy of Hell

Year: 2004
Production Co: CB Films
Director: Catherine Breillart
Writer: Catherine Breillart
Cast: Rocco Siffredi
Now, I'd launch straight into a tirade about how Anatomy of Hell was disgusting, but Catherine Breillat is just messing with my head; that's how she wants me to react.

She tricks you. You're disgusted by what goes on in the movie, then you catch yourself because you've got no reason to be disgusted when you break down each scene that disgusts you. She's goading me into saying 'what an ugly, hairy vagina' and 'how repulsive menstruation is'. And she'll go to any lengths to do it.

When the woman gives the man the used tampon she's just taken out of herself and drops it in his glass of water which he then proceeds to drink, I nearly threw up and that's the point at which I turned the DVD off, unable to stomach any more.

Then I found myself feeling sneakily cheated. Am I right to think women's menstrual cycles are so gross? No, I wouldn't want to drink a glass of water with a used tampon in it, but why? The lifetime of conditioning we all go through that women's vaginas are disgusting, smelly, unclean chasms that bleed and cause madness? We've all had blood in our mouths before and many of us have given a woman oral sex and had our mouths on her vagina before. Why when they're put together do we find it so repellent (ooh Breillart, you brazen trickster!)

If that's what she was saying, the movie is successful as a statement. As a piece of informative entertainment, it's as godawfully dull as most of these sex-obsessed Eurotrash movies. The man and woman apparently meet in a gay nightclub after she's attempted suicide. I thought they were married or something - that minimalist European acting style just gives you no clue what's going on.

She then gives him an improbably short blowjob and pays him to come to her remote house over the course of several nights (apparently, once again) watch her sleep. While she lays there, he wanders the house, lost in some existential quandary and occasionally returning to the room to commit some act that would make most English-speaking audiences choke on their popcorn. In amongst all this are lines of dialogue that sound like they were cut and paste from a website of theoretical metaphysical philosophy and chucked in anywhere.

Not pointless (as long as I've read it right), but not enjoyable.

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