Dec 23, 2010

The Exterminating Angels

Not at all the Luis Buñuel film of the near-same title, The Exterminating Angel(s) is Jean-Claude Brisseau's somewhat-biographical film in response to his arrest with charges of imposing women to masturbate in his presence as part of his auditions. In the film, our lead character François commits to exploiting women for the sake of art, or France's long standard of art for the sake of women. Right off the bat, I was immersed in this film for its blunt portrayal of women, even so to the script. As I quote one auditionee, "We're all a bit weird. A bit sluttish too." Let this women speak for the gender, will you? As François begins auditioning for a film (film within a film) exploring transgressive sexuality, The Exterminating Angels takes no time to dive headfirst into the shallow pond known as female sexuality. Certain desires all let be known, such as being fucked by strangers, gang-bangs, and other perverted desires branching from the central theme: anonymity. Eventually, several women get too attached to the director which is a cause for problems. I suppose clitoral stimulation and voyeurism is a quick mix for obsessive love. 

Brisseau subversively reveals himself to be a bit of a narcissist after transforming what should have been an otherwise seedy character into a Casanova. Audition after audition, which translates into a ridiculous amount of on-screen masturbation, frustration builds for François as his marriage is clearly on the rocks. Nights are spent in hotel rooms with other women in hopes to achieve artistic enlightenment. François is stupidly chasing the end of a rainbow in his futile quest. The sexual resentment soon reaches a simmer of which he unleashes upon his wife, providing the only bit of humanity this two-dimensional character has. These results of which I had been patiently waiting for are explosive, and to think I had began to doubt our character's sexuality. If The Exterminating Angels is based around loose fact, let it be known that the portrayal of the selectiveness of the female orgasm seems concise. To continue the reign of egotism, two characters are introduced who are hinted to being "the Exterminating Angels", two female apparitions who supervise his actions. When fate spreads that cruel grin towards François, one of these angels of death admits that she too, has fallen in love with our director. Such a vain boy you are, Mr. Brisseau. 

The director surely fancies himself a provocateur. While his actions can be overtly analyzed as a footnote to create the art, one can only bring to mind that [hilarious] news story not too long ago where a man traveled door-to-door, offering up free breast exams. Brisseau allows very little to take away from the erratic and irresponsible taboos of the female wunderkind. Angles prefer to remain stationary as women are pleasing one another, giving the film a sense of strict pornography - a film about the orgasm more than the struggling director. The biographical context is limited to only this, altering the outcome into a scene of brief and phony violence. Call the cause & effect retribution if you will, but high-brow art this isn't. The sexuality on display is rarely erotic and quite tedious. If I wanted to watch legs splayed in an uncomfortable fashion, I'd search for amateur pornography. The Exterminating Angels neither shocks nor humbles. My hopes were far broader than what I had in store. Included with the film are negative connotations towards lesbianism. Within, several lesbian characters are established. The foundation for their love is built off lust and not understanding. The only emotion displayed is channeled straight through their vulva. No brain chemistry required, The Exterminating Angels is a rather disappointing film concerning the destructive tendencies of women, in this case, cockroaches, as they slobber and hunger to reach their peak. This film simply proves that it's lurid to a fault. Not to mention the terrible pacing and mechanic voice-overs spouting prose before each scene - truly, madly, pretentious.



A.D. said...

What a coincidence, I was about to rent this from the mom and pop store I go to a couple of days ago, but put it back on the shelf because I remember skimming through a "gray market" copy a while back and not being too impressed. Like you said, it fails to be shocking. Love the new look of the site, btw!

Soiled Sinema said...


TEA doesn't even match up to Breillat's worst.


jervaise brooke hamster said...

Once again Merry Christmas my good buddys i hope you`re having a great time. By the way, i dont think you should be wasting your time watching pretentious rubbish like this any more, now that there are hundreds of millions of graphic sexual images available on the internet. I remember recording films like this 15 or 20 years ago and hoping that at some point in the film a gorgeous bird was going to show her bum so i could jerk-off to it in the freeze frame mode afterwards but to still be doing that in this day and age seems so ludicrously out-moded.


Your review, while lucid and insightful, highlights the subjective importance of expectations going into a movie. You obviously hoped for something more intellectually viable, and came out disappointed. Admittedly, the title of the film pushes in this direction, and as you rightly point out, the director himself probably had higher pretensions.

But if you go into it it expecting a softcore skinflick you may came out pleasantly surprised at the 'relative' sophistication. The fact that it has any pretension to a story at all is a bonus. Ie: it's an erotic movie that you can sit through without hitting the Fast-forward button. Its well-filmed, and the script is more than just a flimsy scaffold supporting the sex scenes.

Overall, I liked it ... but as a softcore with artistry, rather than as an arthouse with sex.