All True Artists Are Hated: The Transgressions of Catherine Breillat

Perversely elegant … The most radical exercise in erotic body horror since David Cronenberg’s Crash.”

J. Hoberman, Village Voice

When it seemed the cycle of New Extreme cinema had no taboos left to shatter, Catherine Breillat demonstrated just how much further the envelope’s extremities could be pushed. An aggressive polemic on male terror of the female body, Anatomy of Hell is a bracing, brooding film based on Breillat’s 2001 novel Pornocracy. It begins with a woman (Amira Casar) slitting her wrists at a disco; she has decided, it seems, to end the hell-on-earth of being a woman. Saving her life is a gay man (Rocco Siffredi), whom she hires to join her for four successive nights at her seaside villa to explore male loathing of the female—and to watch her where I’m unwatchable.” The director’s predilection for the previously forbidden here reaches new levels of brazenness. Anatomy divided critics, earned the ire of censors, and drew charges of misogyny and homophobia. Twenty years on, we invite you to reach your own conclusion. Squeamish, steer clear.

In French with English subtitles

A revolutionary film, and one of the key works of early 20th century feminist cinema.”

Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, Senses of Cinema
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