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Remstar Studios presents
Baise-Moi (2000)

"First, I felt bad. Really bad. I wanted to cry. Hell on Earth. But now, I feel really great. So great I almost feel like doing it all night."
- Nadine (Karen Bach)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: January 01, 2002

Stars: Raffaela Anderson, Karen Bach
Other Stars: Delphine MacCarty, Lisa Marshall, Estelle Isaac
Director: Virgine Despentes, Coralie Trinh Thi

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (prolonged sex scenes of an extremely explicit nature, scenes of graphic violence)
Run Time: 01h:13m:55s
Release Date: December 18, 2001
UPC: 681283001313
Genre: late night


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ BB-B B-

DVD Review

The fine line that differentiates pornography and mainstream cinema is pushed to its limits with the DVD release of the controversial 2000 French film Baise-Moi (literally, F*** Me, but translated as Rape Me in the US for obvious reasons), from the dual directing team of Virgine Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi. It is a dark, violent story, based on a novel by Despentes, that is loaded with startling and explicit hard-core sex scenes that sort of shatter that imaginary wall of fake movie sex, and inserts its two female lead characters into a series of liaisons that, while graphic, do seem to serve the purpose of presenting them as real women experiencing often unpleasant realities.

At its core, Baise-Moi is a story of violent revenge, inflicted by women towards men, and the film treads on ground we've seen before (Ms. 45, Thelma And Louise) to some degree. A chance encounter in a train station between Manu (Raffaela Anderson), a rape victim, and Nadine (Karen Bach), a tough prostitute, ignites a friendship that quickly propels them into a rage-filled odyssey that gives them what they perceive to be the chance to change their lives. The two become fast friends, and as their own troubled pasts entwine them, they embark on a mission to destroy men—any men—as icons of those who have shattered their own lives. Manu and Nadine churn out a path of violent destruction as they both learn the power of sex, and use it as a tool for them to overcome their own depression and to inject brute, raw emotional control into their lives.

Despentes and Trinh Thi cast a pair of French adult film stars (Bach and Anderson) as the two leads, and that should not come as too big of a surprise when viewing Baise-Moi. I will admit that it was somewhat unsettling at first to see the stars of a film performing very real sex acts, and not simply taking part in one of those soft-focus romps that typically pass for cinematic sex. It's obvious that much of the directors' intent would have been lost had the sex been toned down, as it serves a very pivotal role in their lives and adds authenticity.

Bach and Anderson give very natural performances, which only heightens the strange juxtaposition of viewing their sexual encounters. Bach is very good as the tough-as-nails Nadine, whose own love of violence is unearthed by Manu. Anderson's Manu, whose sweet, mischievous smile reveals her as an innocent driven to the edge as a result of a particularly brutal gang-rape that occurs early in the film, is the catalyst that leads the two on the literal road to ruin. Her actions, as she drives the pair further along the path of evil, gives Baise-Moi some needed edge.

If we strip away the dramatic effect of the sexual scenes, we are left with a story that is not much more than those "lather, rinse, repeat" instructions on a shampoo bottle. There isn't much in the way of tension or suspense, as the bulk of this relatively short film focuses on a series of encounters, followed by bloodshed. With the exception of one overly nasty death scene, which occurs during the sex club sequence, the violence presented by Despentes and Trinh Thi is a seemingly endless parade of bloody gunshot wounds. I don't think the violent nature of Baise-Moi will shock as many as will the extreme sexuality.

The strength and subtle charisma of the two leads does give Baise-Moi enough of a kick to merit a viewing by adventurous film fans.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Remstar's 1.33:1 full-frame transfer is as gritty as the film's subject matter, and about as clean. Despentes and Trinh Thi have given their film a near documentary-like feel, and there is a fair amount of grain in the final print. Colors are mostly flat, which reinforces the bleak lives of Manu and Nadine as they dish out their violence. Fleshtones look natural, though a little pale. Blood, and there is plenty of it, is the exception, which appears bright red.

Perfectly subdued.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchno


Audio Transfer Review: Baise-Moi is presented in its original French, with a 2.0 surround track. The French dialogue is clean, though any type of spatial imaging is pretty much nonexistent. This audio mix relies on the front channels exclusively, with little or no rear channel activity.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 6 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Weblink
  2. Official Posters
  3. Press Response
  4. Photo Gallery
Extras Review: The highlight in the extras department is a series of press responses, featuring excerpts from various publications discussing the impact Baise-Moi. It was interesting to see how this film was accepted (or not) when it was theatrically released. Peter Travers from Rolling Stone called it "Thelma And Louise with actual penetration." Well said, Peter.

The rest of the bonus materials include a weblink, a brief gallery of photos and posters, tiny English subtitles and 6 chapter stops.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

Is Baise-Moi a good film? If anything, it stands as a daring hybrid that could easily startle staid viewers. Despentes and Trinh Thi no doubt intended their film to make audiences gasp, and that it does. It is certainly unique in some elements of it's presentation of sex and violence; it is shocking at times, but predictable at others. But take away the sex, and all that is left is a darker retelling of the Thelma And Louise legend.

 


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