Register Thursday | July 2 | 2020

Hello Anatomy

Catherine Breillat's new movie Anatomy of Hell is basically an essay on the male fear of the vulva

So I saw the new Catherine Breillat movie, Anatomy of Hell, this morning. At 9 a.m. No disrespect to the people who book these things, but I am never ready to see anybody get violated with a rake at 9 a.m. - even if it's kind of an affectionate, tender rake-violatin'; even if it's symbolic.

Breillat, you will recall, made 36 Fillette and Fat Girl, about underage girls having sex with horrible, horrible men, and Romance, which showed blow jobs way before it was trendy.

Anatomy of Hell is based on Breillat's book, Pornocracy, which I haven't read because they don't have it in the Toronto public library system; but my guess is that it's kind of like Mars and Venus in the Bedroom as translated into French by an extremely ill-tempered existentialist.

So the film's basically an essay on the male fear of the vulva, with Amira Casar and Rocco Siffredi, mostly nude, enunciating the various theses and antitheses, with the help of lipstick, tampons, a stone dildo (!) and the aforementioned rake; it does a lot of taboo-busting (the rake? has three prongs, representing the Trinity! there's a crucifix on the wall! no kidding.)

And it's totally enjoyable to watch. I don't agree with the bulk of Breillat's arguments; I think she conveniently ignores facts that contradict her red-in-tooth-and-claw view of human nature. But I like that she's going to the trouble to shock me; what's more, I like that she's making the effort to claw away at these taboos, to ask why nobody ever even tries to show how women really think about sex, for example. She's got balls. Which is the totally wrong thing to say right there.


My apartment now smells - and this is the last time I'm going to do this, I don't mean to be cute; but - like peaches and autumn rain. Or poetic. But it's true!