Moriarty Reviews RAPE ME(BAISE MOI) And Gets Incredibly Off-Topic!! Washington!! Hollywood!! It's Madness!!
Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
This started off as a review of BAISE MOI.
It became something else. Bear with me or don't, but I'm warning you up front... I digress like a mutha below. So... with that in mind...
Before the screening began last Thursday night, John Robie was trying to figure out a way to peel off the sticker on the front of the press kit so he could put it on his car, a punk rock-looking explosion with a gun braced on both sides by "BAISE MOI!"
After the screening, John Robie didn't seem to even want to touch the press kit anymore.
That's how pervasively skanky RAPE ME is as a viewing experience. Imagine THELMA & LOUISE retold in French with more gore and hardcore pornography tossed in for kicks. Sound good? Well... somehow, it both is and isn't.
It wants to be great and important and even groundbreaking. Oh, god, it wants to be. There is genuine yearning in the filmmaking here by Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi, just like there is calculated shock built into the warning splashed across the ad art:
WARNING! THIS FILM CONTAINS PROLONGED SEX SCENES OF AN EXTREMELY EXPLICIT NATURE AND SCENES OF GRAPHIC VIOLENCE, WHICH SOME VIEWERS MAY FIND SHOCKING AND DISTURBING.
Controversial, right? I mean, this film was banned in France. IN FRANCE, fer chrissakes. I didn't even know you could get banned in France. Seems like one of those no-brainers. A country full of self-proclaimed cineastes who love to feel more sexually sophisticated than Americans should be the perfect place for two women to make a film about two women who kill and fuck for pleasure in equal measure starring real-life porno stars. And, indeed, it did go on to win some major awards in France, even after being banned. This thing is just soaked in controversy.
And in the end, it's not worthy of the energy. And that might be the most frustrating thing of all.
BAISE MOI is the story of the results of an unlikely friendship between two girls in France, Manu (Raffaella Anderson) and Nadine (Karen Bach). Early on in the film, Manu is raped with a friend of hers, and we see that Nadine works as a prostitute, watching hardcore porn to relax in her free time. They're both disaffected, drifting through life, more a source of frustration than anything else to those around them.
They both commit terrible acts of violence, and right after, they meet for the first time, randomly, passing on the stairs of a train platform. They recognize something in one another, and the two of them set off on a rampage across France, leaving a trail of dead bodies almost as long as their trail of sexual partners. The two of them fuck to relax. They fuck when they're stressed. They fuck when they're bored. They fuck to celebrate. It's really no big deal to them, and one of the things that Despentes and Trinh Thi try to do here is demystify and deglamourize sex from the female perspective. This isn't shot in any sort of romantic context. This is fucking, the physical act of friction, shown in graphic close-up. And there is a charge of the forbidden to some of it. When you spend an entire film with an actress like Bach in a typical dramatic setting, you don't expect to get a tight shot of her licking and kissing the uncircumcised head of a penis. At first, it's as jarring as if Meg Ryan or Julia Roberts were to suddenly do the same thing. But there's so much sex in this film, and it's all shot with such a dispassionate eye, that eventually it loses any meaning. Maybe that's the point. Maybe we're supposed to reach the same exact level of boredom regarding sex that these two women are feeling.
I think one of the things that derails the movie is the violence in it. Not because I'm shocked by it... in fact, I'm not shocked, and that's a problem. This is fairly tame stuff, low-tech as far as makeup goes, and while I don't think the film would be improved if it wallowed in gore, I do think it lacks any real punch. For some people, maybe it will be shocking to see women committing these violent acts, stomping some guy to death because he can't get hard or sticking a gun up some pimp's ass before pulling a trigger. Maybe these images will be burned in for you the way things like the chainsaw scene in SCARFACE or the meathook scene in TEXAS CHAINSAW were for me, indelibly marking me. A better comparison would be a moment from I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, a nasty little piece of work that is essentially a revenge exploitation film about a woman who is raped by a group of men, only to get payback on them, one by one. There's a castration in a bathtub scene in the film that melted my brain when I saw the film at around 13. It's cheesy, but there's something very primal and horrible about the image, the idea of it, that really stuck with me. I didn't even make it through the film at that point or until years later. For some people, BAISE MOI might actually be that kind of shock to the system.
If you go to The American Site for the film, it's a pretty mild ride, with a trailer that is actually pretty good. In some ways, it's more accomplished than the film itself. If you got to The French Site for the film, there's some QuickTime downloads that feature more of the nudity, more of the sex, more of the violence. Selling the controversy is pretty much all the film has going for it. As an actual experience, there's not much "there" there. Of the two actresses, I think Karen Bach does the better work. There's a gravity to her face, a resignation to the way she carries herself through the film, that is quietly compelling at times. Watching her react to the antics of Raffaella Anderson, the film almost finds a soul. In the end, though, the script (based on a novel by Virginie Despentes) is too thin, too direct, without anything that pulls us through the film as viewers. Their relationship really is directly lifted from THELMA & LOUISE, and it's disappointing.
Having said all that, I want to say that releasing something like BAISE MOI is genuinely problematic in a system like ours with the MPAA. When BAISE MOI opens in arthouse theaters, there's no way it can play with a rating. It's not like they make a triple-NC-17. It's the sort of thing that should really only play in specialty houses. I think it's most important to keep it away from any politicians that might wander in and get confused and think that what they are watching is real. I mean, after last week's Reuter's story about California State Assemblyman Kevin Shelley, I think the only people Washington needs to protect from movies and TV are the lawmakers themselves. Shelley actually adjourned the California Assembly early a week ago out of respect for the death of Mrs. Landingham, the now-deceased secretary of the President on THE WEST WING.
Let's soak that one in together, shall we? An elected official, working for the citizens of this state at a time when we're facing things like, oh, let's say, an energy crisis decides to shut things down early and go home because he's still choked up that a character on a TV show died?
"Before adjourning the session, a straight-faced Shelley called Mrs. Landingham a 'great American' whose 'contributions to the nation were too numerous to count.'"
"The announcement caught many legislators by surprise. 'Nobody could tell if she really died or fake died,' said Terri Carbaugh, a Shelley aide."
Is it just me, or is anyone else ready to go to Sacramento and chase this guy out of office right this freakin' minute!? I think I'm genuinely freakin' indignant. I don't know that I've ever been indignant before. I get mad when I hear political news all the time, like when listening to Sen. Joe Lieberman's spewings about how he's going to use the Federal Trade Committee's findings to spearhead the creation of an enforceable legal penalty for marketing R-rated films to minors. That's different, though. I think Joe Lieberman is a dangerous man, someone who should know better, someone whose heritage practically demands that he understand the simple truth: banning unpopular or controversial speech is a one-way ticket to Munich circa 1936. I think his views are wrong-headed enough that they'll derail themselves.
With this Shelley joker in Sacramento, though, I'm not angry. I'm aghast. Shocked that someone this stupid was elected to an office. The article goes on to describe how "the lawmaker" likes to call his wife during commercial breaks on the show to talk about what's happening.
"'It was tragic. She was crying, I was upset. It was terrible,' Shelley said."
Great. The show worked. It was meant to be an emotional ending. Personally, I thought last night's episode had a far more dramatic payoff, one that got me really hopped up. Doesn't mean I'm going to cancel all of my committments today just to sit around and contemplate how freakin' great it was.
This is a LAWMAKER. What sort of message does this send to kids? He gets torn up over the death of someone on a TV show, so he closes the government down for the day. Is this responsible?
I ask because Washington loves to point the finger at Hollywood, at filmmakers, at those of us who create art and entertainment for a living. Washington points at us and calls us role models, holds us accountable for every message we send, whether intentional or imagined.
There was another story picked up last week on Reuter's about a New Jersey congresswoman who wants the House of Representatives to denouce THE SOPRANOS.
Rep. Marge Roukema was on Chris Matthew's HARDBALL after the story broke, and as soon as she admitted to having never seen the show, I stopped listening. How can you condemn something as "pornography" if you don't have any true exposure to it? It's a ridiculous pose, and she's not the first politician to strike it. We regularly hear people condemn movies or music or books that they haven't watched or heard or read because they are afraid of ideas.
Only a very little person is that afraid of ideas. I can appreciate that Roukema is the granddaughter of Italian immigrants. I think it's wonderful that she has a sense of cultural pride that is still strong after several generations. But to attack the work of David Chase and his incredible creative staff and his remarkable team of actors without having seen it, without seeing the episodes of the show where these exact ideas are debated... it's wrong. And it's certainly not the sort of thing I expect from my elected officials.
If anyone in Washington got a look at BAISE MOI, and if they thought there was any profit margin in it for them, they could have a field day attacking the film and its imagery and its filmmakers. But two women from France releasing an art house picture aren't sexy targets the way someone like Oliver Stone is for NATURAL BORN KILLERS or Marilyn Manson or THE SOPRANOS. No... it doesn't really pay to beat up on a film that 99% of the people in this country aren't even going to hear about.
In a way, I'm most disappointed in BAISE MOI because it's not a subversive little mind bomb that could fly in under the radar and do some real damage before people caught wind of it. When it got banned in France, I remember being really excited by the possibility that there was something so explosive that it caused that kind of ferocious feedback. I prayed for something that would be justifiably scary, something worth getting fired up about. I wanted a movie called RAPE ME to be dangerous.
As it stands, it's not good enough or consistently interesting enough to be dangerous. Instead, it's a curio piece for those interested in what all the hype was about or who want to see what a serious drama looks like with hardcore explicit sex dropped in. It's nothing to get up in arms about, nothing to rally around, nothing worth sparking the national debate that seems to be brewing. Even the title is an empty threat, a clever phrase that uses a hot-button word (RAPE) to get a reaction, then defuses it. How can someone say, "Rape me"? The act of consent negates the rape. It's clever. But it doesn't say anything about the movie, and it doesn't say anything about either Manu or Nadine. Hell, FIGHT CLUB seemed to me to be far better at causing a genuinely dangerous reaction, far better at being a provocative, divisive film that was deeply misunderstood by many of those who attacked it. If someone in town has the balls to film Chuck Palahniuks's next novel CHOKE with this same level of explicit detail, if someone has the balls to shoot it then release it without the help of the MPAA, and if they do it with big names and with a big release and they never back down an inch, then they might actually succeed in finally lighting the fuse that so desperately needs to be lit.
Until then, BAISE MOI is no substitute.
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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May 17, 2001, 8:01 a.m. CST
by fear of a ted
Nice synopsis, better writing, excellent thought process. Moriarty is the king.
May 17, 2001, 8:12 a.m. CST
This Kevin Shelly guy scares me more than Jason Voorhees in a dark alley. Who they hell voted for this nutcase?
May 17, 2001, 8:23 a.m. CST
The internet is worldwide you know, and not just full of americans, regardless of what all too many americans seem to believe, so a little consideration to fellow fans of quality film and television worldwide would be appreciated when throwing around spoilers like you did above. I mean is that really too much to ask? Oh, and all you assholes chomping at the bit to flame me just for something to do can post your "yes it is..." diatribes now.
May 17, 2001, 8:27 a.m. CST
by drew mcweeny
... so it's fair game for discussion. You're really hyper sensitive if you start calling people names like that for discussing a news story. If you want that little information about upcoming films and TV shows, I suggest you stop reading the Internet or newspapers or watching or listening to any other form of media. Someone might stepseses on your tosies.
May 17, 2001, 8:30 a.m. CST
In the UK we had the Prime Minister and the Leader of the opposition debating the jailing of someone on a british soap called Coronation Street. The PM said that she should be let out as an injustice had been done! and the tabloids ran front pages pleading her innocence and demanding her freedom!!!!! I feel sorry for a country that votes in a President with a minority count - with his brother helping to cook the poll in florida. If that happened in Russia im sure the US Marines would be being filmed running up the beaches of the Black Sea on CNN as we speak. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Well big business now has four years to rape america, pollute the environment and tip even more shit into the atmosphere. A bit like picking the meat off the bones. +++++++++++++++++++++++++ If you dont vote or you dont know shit you cant change anything. And thats how they like it. Next time get to the poll station and vote. +++++++++++++++++++ We have a vote coming up over here. To tell the truth i dont know what to do as they are a pretty sad bunch, although Prescott has my vote for the no noncence left hook he threw to quell any egg throwing yesterday. ++++++++++++++++++
May 17, 2001, 8:37 a.m. CST
Therefore theres no reason at all for a little consideration to be shown for anyone is any other country other than America, after all if we don't like it we shouldn't live in other countries or be on the net, right? Ever consider that many of us avoided those kind of reports or discussions for the very purpose so that things like this wouldn't be spoiled? No, of course not, after all that, just like showing consideration, would just be too damn hard now wouldn't it?
May 17, 2001, 8:46 a.m. CST
by drew mcweeny
It's about a French film that was banned and whether or not it's worthy of that controversy and how it will be sold in America. When dealing with issues of sex and violence and ratings in this country right now, one is forced to consider the uneasy relationship between Hollywood and Washington, and this was pertinent to the story being discussed. Is it fair game? Hell, yes, it's fair game. It hopped off the television screen and intruded into real life, taking it out of the spoiler realm and into the realm of news. Sorry if you got your panties in a twist about it, JackBurton, but I don't know what to tell you. I resent having to childproof the world, and I resent you calling me names for discussing something that's being discussed.
May 17, 2001, 8:47 a.m. CST
That was damn refreshing. I had heard about the guy in sacremeno earlier, and it warms my heart to know that in america someone who has graduated from our countries' superb special education program, can be elected into office. As for the dipshit legislator in NJ, people like that are always looking for someway to be heard. I recieved an email last week that claimed the harry potter series was satanic, and that the author should be treated like a pedophile. I think it all boils down to someone who got beat up in gym class one too many times, that just wants attention and can think of no worthwhile way to recieve it.
May 17, 2001, 8:48 a.m. CST
Im with Moriaty. You are a prat. Why are you on a site which deals in news and spoilers? Go read a book .. or get the crayons out. twat. ++++++ +++++++++++ps Moriaty. I enjoyed your review. Theres nothing wrong with bringing in experiences that are not directly about the film. Aint - that - Cultural - Studies!? Its good to read something which spurs a little digression and gives people something to chew on... in fuckwits case - peanuts.
May 17, 2001, 8:57 a.m. CST
by SilentBob X
I wholeheartedly agree with Moriarty that this whole censorship insanity has gotten out of control. And while I doubt I'll ever get to see Baise Moi, it certainly does pique my interest. Any film that pisses off the anal retentive morality nazis that run the good ol' U.S. of A deserves at least a peek by yours truly. It just burns me that politicians are so fucking two-faced on this issue. I mean, they want to censor tv, radio, and film to allegedly 'protect' our children, but they don't want to increase spending on education or family programs. It's as simple as this, people: Our politicians don't give a shit about the kids. If they did, then teen violence, pregnancy, and drug abuse wouldn't be as high as it is now. And yet, politicians like Lieberman and this Kelley retard are trying to restrict what we see and hear. And I'll say it right here: Lieberman cost Al Gore the election with his whole 'Hollywood must answer for its unholy crimes' attitude. Smooth move, ex-lax. Great idea. That's the moralists view. That if movies like Baise Moi, Natural Born Killers, Fight Club, Basketball Diaries, and pornography didn't exist, then we'd all be living in paradise. Pardon me while I throw the fuck up. Yeah, that's the ticket. Blame the media. Movies, video games, porn, music, and Howard Stern are destroying America's morality. Yeah, right. So, in conclusion, let me say this: I will see Baise Moi if possible, 'cause that's my right as an American. To see whatever I want and make my own decision. BTW, if you're worried about 'moral fiber'(a term I'm sick of hearing) then shove a sweater up your ass. Snootch to the Nootch.
May 17, 2001, 9 a.m. CST
by Edmund Exley
Rape Me has been out for a month now. Lieberman proposed his new legislation a month ago. Only now is freedom of speech important, just because Moriarty got lost on the way to seeing A Knights Tale again and somehow ended up at an arthouse? This site would be scary if it ever got relevant.
May 17, 2001, 9:08 a.m. CST
by drew mcweeny
... first, I don't read filmjerk.com. Don't know what it is. Second, BAISE MOI is just opening in Los Angeles this weekend. I am Los Angeles press. It was screened to us last week. It hasn't opened in the rest of the country yet. If it's in New York, mazel tov. I'm not, so I saw it now.
May 17, 2001, 9:24 a.m. CST
by drew mcweeny
... the movie opens in LA the first weekend of June, and doesn't hit New York until July. "It's been open a month"? Way to attack someone for being timely. No wonder... you're posting from the future!!
May 17, 2001, 9:43 a.m. CST
I like to read Moriarity's reviews. The guy has an interesting way of thinking. What I don't understand is why he would be excited because this film was initially banned in France. I get the obsession with 'pushing the envelope' to a degree I guess, but when does it just get to be noise? You know if you have a bump on your arm and you scratch it it will elicit a feeling. If you take a scapel and cut it out, a different feeling yet. After the scapel you might want to use a hunting knife, but it's going to feel pretty much the same. You can try pruning shears, but again, you probably won't notice the difference. There's nothing new under the sun. Even if they start making prono snuff films available somebody will probably make the observation that all the real pain and agony ruins the cinematography and a good-ole "R" rated slasher pic is better anyway. Isn't there any direction that can be pushed out that doesn't go directly down? I'm not a closet censor or particularly a prude, I just don't want to wind up as another piece of annecdotal proof to the wisdom of P.T. Barnum.
May 17, 2001, 10:18 a.m. CST
Use less words. Primary audience here is the MTV generation, right? Anyway, I'm with Moriarty on this one. It's frightening who is leading this country. The worst part is that a capable, competent guy like me is just hanging out reading a movie geek website while tv characters are dying. Now I understand why violence in the media and on tv must stop ... if they don't the gov't will.
May 17, 2001, 10:44 a.m. CST
by drew mcweeny
Turns out I know Ed Havens, the guy who writes FilmJerk.com. Haven't talked to him in a while. There's so many sites that pop up that I didn't recognize his when it went by this morning. Anyway... if nothing else, I can thank Ed Exley for putting me back in touch with a friend, even if he was a complete ass about doing so. I'll go read some of Ed's site now so I can see what I've been accused of imitating. Ta.
May 17, 2001, 11 a.m. CST
by otis von zipper
All this talk of the U.S. government's short-sightedness leads me to an unrelated current topic; Bush's energy plan. Anyone who feels his plan for tearing up our country and building poluting power plants everywhere is wrong please please please let Congress and the House and the White House know it. Now and often. On topic, Mori makes great points, and I feel the best course of action is to a)vote with your money. Hollywood responds best to reciepts. and b) Keep the dicussion amongst the people and away from the politicians, they tend to make the worst decisions.
May 17, 2001, 11:02 a.m. CST
Moriarty, if you go back and read all 100 words of the very AP article you linked to, regarding Assemblyman Kevin Shelley, you'll find this little nugget: ``At first everyone was stunned but then they were rolling in the aisles. Several said that they really appreciated that,'' he said. Based on this, which is the more believable explanation? That he's truly pulled a Nurse Betty and believes The West Wing is real? Or that he was using odd, deadpan humor to lighten up a dull assembly meeting? Alas, my dear chap, methinks it is you who have confused fiction with reality. Take a deep breath, have a Ho-Ho, and read the article more carefully before blowing your stack. By the way, closing an assembly meeting early isn't exactly the same as "shutting down the government," in the same way that ending a school assembly isn't the same as closing the school. And no, I don't work for Assemblyman Shelley. I never met the man. I've never even been to Sacramento. I'm just tired of people, Senators and screenwriters alike, shooting their mouths off before examining both sides of the story. You have been Disinformed.
May 17, 2001, 11:04 a.m. CST
...should pick up the true American torch, a lawyer, and sue the leather pants off those crazy French dykes.
May 17, 2001, 11:07 a.m. CST
Understand this, during the Calvin Coolidge years 1921-1928, he set this country up for a fall. The rich got richer and the lower and middle class took it in the shorts, not unlike what's happening now. Do you think that's today's "Energy Crisis" actually exists? Georgie junior had three oil companies that took a nose dive and lost the Texas Rangers ballteam. This is his payback with interest to those companies. Jacking up the oil and energy prices. Why do you think he chose California? Its mostly democratic and its an industrial state with the computer, agricultural and movie industry leading it. Grey davis, the governor, is also a republican and his friend. Herbert Hoover, 31st president, was no better after he took Coolidge's place. The depression was in full swing and it wasn't until Roosevelt was elected and knew the only way to get us out of this slump was to get the U.S. into a two front war. We had the industry and the manpower to do so. The scary thing is we're following the same pattern.
May 17, 2001, 11:07 a.m. CST
I saw this film at last year's Toronto Film Festival, and reported on it for AICN (go to http://www.aint-it-cool-news.com/display.cgi?id=6947 and scroll halfway down the "Saturday" section). I said "forget it" at the time about the film's prospects for being released in America, and want to point out that the version being released in North America (the one that Moriarty saw)is NOT the same one that I saw ... the rape scene has been toned down considerably. There was an article about the film in a Toronto newspaper a couple of months ago that mentioned this.
May 17, 2001, 11:23 a.m. CST
by Vincent D.
...from someone who honestly believes that bullshit documentary 'Waco: The Rules of Engagement'. Yes, Moriarti, we remember you talking about how it "frightened you to think that the government could do that". It's too bad that fanboys who relate all their great aestetic memories to only one particular medium (hey, when's the last time you READ A BOOK?) are the ones who seem to speak the loudest against the threat of cultural domination. They attack the wrong people (the politicians and ratings-board types who want to take away their petty little sex-cursing-and-gore-fests) instead of the REAL threat, those who wish to turn all appreciators of art into hopeless fanboys, making music, television, and film the focus of out lives- instead of allowing them to fuel our own creativity and passion for REAL LIFE. It's a damn shame.
May 17, 2001, 11:38 a.m. CST
how the hell can we expect anything to change in the political arena when for 8 years these spineless, wimps in our goverment gave a guy like bill clinton a pass!!! if theres anyone out there that thinks that that ass monkey gave a flying fuck about the country, then your just stupid! and as for his wife, there arent enough words to describe that C#NT!!!!!! you wonder why theres children raising children, no morales, no ethics, these things are almost frowned upon by people of today! and how can you blame them, when you got a guy running the country who treats his family with no respect!!!! and his dumb ass wife gets on national t.v. with a big grin on her face and just says i'm sticking by my man! she should be embarresed to show that fat mug in public for what that looser did!!! how can you get a guy like liberman out there promoting , hollywood is bad, and we have to somehting about hollywood and then, when he's running for office with the guy who created the internet,(such a dick comment) al fat ass gore, is going to hollywood dinners, at $5000 a plate!!! these guys are such waffelers and hippocrites that its almost funny at this point! washington cant even get there house in order, and there worried about hollywood! this shelly guy shuts goverment down for the day becasue of a fucking t.v. show!!!! wheres a lone gunmen in a school book depository window when you need him!!! hollywood should be last on the to do list in washington!!! get the guns out of kids hands and get the parents to do the right thing and maybe we wont have these problems!!!! i was raised on a healthy diet of bugs bunny cartoons, 3 stooges movies, action movies and rock and fucking roll, and i havent killed anyone yet..............yet that is!!!!!!!!
May 17, 2001, 11:54 a.m. CST
Was this the 'hardcore feminist porno' that you saw last Thursday when I was watching the sneak of EVOLUTION? Anyway, I agree almost wholeheartedly with your diatribe! I can picture you seething in your seat over this schlockocity. I do disagree with the idea that people would be up in arms over the movie. Why? Because it
May 17, 2001, 11:55 a.m. CST
by General Idea
Grey Davis is a democrat. He & Dubya are pretty much at odds over energy policy. Davis blames deregulation, which republicans & certainly energy/oil companies are in favor of. (I agree with much of your post though.) It's difficult to tell in the article just how nutty this guy in Sacramento is. Sometimes you hear something a bit "quirky" about an elected official and think "holy crap, we can't have that person representing us in government!" when in truth it might just be a harmless hobby or something. I mean hey, I could certainly be president, and I have my own Janet Reno doll collection at my....oh, I've said too much. Actually I thought it was kinda cool when Martin Sheen called god a "feckless thug", but I wasn't about to leave work early to celebrate the episode...
May 17, 2001, 12:33 p.m. CST
Republicans/democrats, I don't like either of them. That's why I stay out of politics. I voted for Pat Paulsen, posthumously. "For the people, by the people....blah, blah, blah." All they do is dump on the people that got them into office. What did we gain in the war with Sadamm(Okay, so Satan got a lover out of it. Well, ex-lover now.)? We should have just taken the oil wells then worked out a deal with the Kuwaiti's. With the energy crisis, how can a standard bill of $12.00 a month skyrocket to over $80.00 if it wasn't a manufactured hike? I don't buy it.
May 17, 2001, 12:33 p.m. CST
Actually the outrage over this film in France is understanding. I'm not sure how aware Moriarty is of French culture, but they do abhore violence and exploitation. Sure they may have keener, more open attitudes towards sex, but they have a profound disgust for b-movies, wether the b-movie has a point or not. The French, until recent years, have been all about pretention. I'll give you a good example, in for the past 5-10 yrs. the French film society has been in a tizzy over US action movies becoming more popular in France, so much so that Frech studios have begun making action films, and paradoxically, upset/wealthy over the success. Just recently there have been riots over a Big Brother/Survivor like tv show. It is #1 in the ratings, but there is a large sect of people that are outraged a mindless exploitative show is on tv, so they have been protesting it. They are a culture that has wanted to pretend that they are more sophisticated, yet, they are proving themselves to be just as open to titilation as any other country.
May 17, 2001, 1:17 p.m. CST
Well, this talkback doesn't lack in emotional content. FIRST - Uncapie - Regarding George W. and his oil company conspiracy theory: How do you explain LAST SUMMER'S high oil prices? TO BLADE DECKARD: I appreciate your thoughts. AND...Moriarty, I appreciate your movie views pretty well. I take issue with a few things you said. You made a statement that it is impossible to condem something that you haven't seen. I totally disagree. I haven't seen the movie "Rape Me," and I never will. I condemn it. The title alone is a pretty good clue but after you said it was "pervasively skanky" and "selling the controversy is pretty much all it had going for it," I am ready to condemn it. I also condemn heroin use, although I personally haven't become an addict. I really like the Sopranos, but when I thought this season's rape scene was way too much and was in bad taste at the least. I sure wouldn't let my kids (if I had any) watch it. The silly senator who wanted the legislature to condemn it was NOT trying to censor it, just name it as a "bad" thing. CENSORSHIP is the act of making it unavailable, not of classifying it as pornography or as offensive or morally corrupt. Free speech has never meant, that all speach is free. The supreme court decided that certain things are not protected as "free speech" if they are deemed harmful to society such as the obvious yelling of "fire" in a crowded theater when there is no fire or blatent, damaging lies about individuals. Does anybody really want to live in a society that is 100% totally open to free speach? Should child pornography be "free speech?" Obviously not, but I am confident in my lifetime that boundry is or will be challenged and there will be a segment that will try to explain that children are sexual beings and adults and children should be able to express that. (Those of you who now want to call me a pervert, be aware that Thailand's #1 tourism draw is child prostitution, much of it advertised on the internet.) Anyway, I strongly feel that child pornography should never be protected as free speech. Free speech has it limits too. That being said, I am not calling for a "censoring" of "Rape Me." What I would call for is that nobody go pay money to support something so "pervasively skanky". I will not lend my financial support. Further, it should probably be rated NC-17 and that too, is NOT censorship. There are MANY problems with the motion picture ratings system, but a ratings system IS NOT censorship, except to minors who have a different legal status than adults in almost every instance. Parents should decide what their minor children are allowed to see. "Saving Private Ryan" or "Shawshank Redemption" might be good for some teens to see, but not without adult permission. If a parent wants their kid to see it, then they damn well ought to make the effort to go themselves and help the young mind that takes in limb dismemberment or jail rape and help them make some sense of it. Young brains,even from a biological standpoint, are not fully developed and process information differently. If you go young enough, kids cannot separate reality from fantasy. So, in my opinion, marketing R-rated films to teens IS wrong. Hollywould(do anything) should make adult films for adults and market them TO adults. Media definitely DOES shape how people think. I don't believe this can be debated. My friend Moriarty himself talks about the indelible impression certain film images made on him at a young age. He has grown into a good and responsible and intelligent member of society, but the impression is still made. Some people use guns to kill, others do not. Some people take violent or sexual images or violent-sexual images and are influenced by them in real life, some do not. For the greater good of society, and for kids, the R-system is a guide. Our country's biggest problem, IMHO, is the breakdown of the family unit and the results of this breakdown. No government can fix it. As the human torch used to say, "Flame On."
May 17, 2001, 1:26 p.m. CST
by Darth Hideous
It's more accurately translated as f**k me (baiser = kiss as a noun, f**k as a verb in slang). (I feel like a prude with the **, but I don't know if I'd get kicked out for using the full word here). This may seem like nitpicking but I think it's not, for two reasons: one, Moriarty makes a big deal of the title - rape me may not make literal sense, but f**k me certainly does, so it's a translation problem. Two, just like the watering down of the US version, it shows that there are definite limits to what you can do and have any chance of having your film seen in the US in any form, let alone in arthouse theaters. Put a title like F**k Me on it and not one theater in the country's going to put it on the marquee. Moving along, I think Moriarty's looking for something that is never going to happen, because shock cinema (like shock rock or anyt other form of shock entertainment) is like a drug - the dose that sufficed last time is never enough again. We're at the point where pretty much nothing except a genuine snuff film is really going to shock anyone anymore, no matter how well it's executed. And even if it's possible, the gulf between what will shock and what is just boringly offensive has broadened enormously over the last 30 years or so. So rather than just trying to go further and further into tastelessness and nihilism in a vain attempt to shock, I'd rather see movies that have shock value based on the ideas they convey - but then that takes a lot more skill and subtlety than just splashing gore and rape scenes across the screen.
May 17, 2001, 2:07 p.m. CST
ahh, darth hideous, i thought for a moment that i was going to be the only one to notice that translation issue... thank you. my guess is that a film titled "rape me" sounds more like art than a file titled "f--- me". and you're right, no theater is going to put f--- on their marquee. linguistics aside, i think the shock value of this film is being over-hyped. and yet, i suspect that the shock value is its only merit.
May 17, 2001, 2:36 p.m. CST
Except of course "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me", which in England, "Shagged" is as rough as "Fuck"
May 17, 2001, 2:45 p.m. CST
Good article indeed, really well done. That said, if i remember correctly, Baise-moi was eventually unbanned in France, since it looked too close to censorship. DrX: hehe, what i think about W. Would it happen in Africa, they would've already bombed the capital in december 2000.
May 17, 2001, 3:16 p.m. CST
by bosco turk
Paths of Glory was banned until 10 years ago or so. I'm not sure of your definition of shocking. The time has long since passed when a mere display of graphic flesh or blood, no matter how torturously obtained, could be described as shocking. Things that shocked our grandparents won't shock us: however, the converse is true also: that which shocks us, won't shock our grandparents. We're still in charge of telling the stories for our generation, in ten years, someone will shock us. Or perhaps some old dairy farmer in Wisconsin will grab a video camera and tell a story that turns things upside down. There's nothing more treacherous than an old rebel. What shocks is when something effectively challenges our notion of world order or of normal behaviour - who's on top, who's on bottom. Baise Moi sounds more than anything like the stereotypes of lesbians from 50's B movies. We've moved on from there. When the women act without reference to men, as they did in Thelma and Louise, people will once again be shocked. Lastly, there is a difference between offending someone and shocking someone. I'm offended by some of the really moronic posts on Talk Back. I have never been shocked. Shock demands that one look at something in an entirely new way. It is the realization of something so new and so alien that it cannot be readily compartmentalized.
May 17, 2001, 3:45 p.m. CST
by Frank B.
Fuck Me?Besides Moriarity this film was reviwed in The October issue of Shock Cinema and has been available on Bootleg since November and personally I find your reviews to be overlong pretentious bullshit
May 17, 2001, 3:45 p.m. CST
Ever notice how the big dogs never take a cut in salary, but allow layoffs if there's a company crisis? Thus, fucking the backbone of this country, the working man. Holy Scamoley, Uncle Grampules! Where do you find this information?!
May 17, 2001, 3:46 p.m. CST
So how come this allegedly poorly made french film that will see very limited release is getting coverage? It is not socially significant, nor does is merit entertainment news coverage. Meanwhile I can't find a reveiw anywhere for "The Tailor or Panama." Which is in the theatres right now and has stars in it. Has anyone out there seen it?
May 17, 2001, 3:50 p.m. CST
Right on Moriarty!
May 17, 2001, 3:53 p.m. CST
Guess what I DON'T!!. So what some french broad made a violent movie its got alot of sex in it, i am not impressed. You all take about it being shocking you sound like pathetic film school rejects. The movie is about blatant streotypical violence any one can do that give me a stick with a nail in it and a camera BAM! instant controvesial masterpiece. Anyway i digress you keep on comparing it to natural born killers and fight club. Maybe its in the same category of NBK (a crappy violent movie with no skill involved made to "piss off the establishment") but don't compare it to fight club that was a great film. By the way most of the things you're saying about this movie could really describe a true "shocking film" battle royale PSWB
May 17, 2001, 4:52 p.m. CST
Moriarty, what exactly do you think happened in Munich in 1936? Surely Lieberman, to be acting in the spirit of Chamberlain and Dalladier, would have to be appeasing someone, rather than taking strong (if misguided) action? I fail to see what possible connection you can make between Munich, which frankly had nothing to do with the suppression of unpopular opinions, and 'banning unpopular or controversial speech'. Is it just the case that you have alluded to an historical incident that you don't fully understand in order to give your polemic a more grounded feel? Also I think the title in french has a lot less harsh overtones than the american equivalent. Meaning somewhere between kiss and f*ck, 'baise' perhaps carries fewer connotations in france where one of the most popular rap acts is called 'f*ck your mom', than 'rape', a clear mistranslation has for the US viewer.
May 17, 2001, 5:28 p.m. CST
May 17, 2001, 5:45 p.m. CST
the speed at which the yahoos in this forum get around to denouncing G.W. Bush for absolutely no reason, other than their own ignorance, never ceases to amaze me. So many things went wrong here. Just what exactly are you all afraid of? That the president will come into your bedrooms and confiscate your copies of Gallery and Hustler? Get over your own hysteria and fear mongering. It doesn't work, and nobody but yourselves buys into it anyway. How did a half ass review of an obscure french porno become a lighning rod for artistic indignation? " I'm most disappointed in BAISE MOI because it's not a subversive little mind bomb that could fly in under the radar and do some real damage before people caught wind of it" Moriarty...what exactly do you mean by this statement? Damage to who? Damage to what? You yearn to destroy an established way of thinking, but as always it's ill-defined and an even more narrow way of thinking that that which you condemn. So called artistic types love to rage against....whatever, but hardly take the time to truly consider what they are raging against. It's amusing to see so many here write like they consider themselves dangerous to the establishment, but it just isn't so. The establishment IS NOT THAT BAD!! When was the last time any of you were censored in any way?!?!? To seek out the destruction of the very system that protects and basically encourages your thinking and actions is ludicrous. Enjoy what you have folks, always be vigilant against those that would destroy your freedom...but don't get carried away. And please get over yourselves.
May 17, 2001, 6:05 p.m. CST
by SilentBob X
What can the gov't do to help? I covered that by saying if they put more money into social programs(drug awareness, sex ed, etc.) it would help. Also, teens need an ALTERNATIVE to sex, drugs, and violence. Has the gov't done anything to find an alternative? Of course not. They want scapegoats such as Howard Stern, Marilyn Manson, violent movies and video games held accountable so they can please the religious right and get re-elected next year. Blaming the entertainment industry for any violence is a fucking cop-out. END OF STORY. BACK TO TOPIC: I hope that Baise Moi doesn't get cut by any gov't censors in this country. But again, the explicit sex and violence could be just a ploy to get more of an audience. Even so, censoring the movie is a step away from democracy. Snootch to the Nootch.
May 17, 2001, 7:13 p.m. CST
Geez moriarty, you sure do like to sound smart. But does anybody remember when you reviewed the Cell? I'm pretty sure you said something like it justifies attacks on filmmakers, that it was irresponsible filmmaking, and that films like it should be subject to attack and censorship from the government. Next time you want to take a stance on a subject, make sure you don't contradict yourself so blatantly. It's sort of embarrassing.
May 17, 2001, 11:51 p.m. CST
At first, Baise Moi was not banned in France. The film makers thought the movie wouldn't make it to the big screens and would be a direct to video, but to their great surprise actually, the "Comission de Censure" (our own MPAA) delivered a visa that restricted the showing for people under 16. AFTER the movie was released, some catholic associations (antisemitic, pro-life and led by ex-fascists from WW2, if you see what I mean)went on to war in the medias and put pressure on politics to get the movie out of the theaters. That was the beginning of the Baise Moi affair. But the real taboo that this movie broke was the fact that famous pornstars (Coralie, Karen Black) could write, direct and perform a "real" movie. The european porn business is a cultural ghetto that you're not supposed to leave so easily. Old Europe is still a very corporatist place, where people "belong" or "do not belong" and they should get on with it for the rest of their lives. That's the reason pornstars are used by contemporary french film makers (see Rocco Siffredi in Romance) to break this strong and invisible barrier. Sure, that doesn't make the movies any better, but we're dealing with politica
May 17, 2001, 11:53 p.m. CST
At first, Baise Moi was not banned in France. The film makers thought the movie wouldn't make it to the big screens and would be a direct to video, but to their great surprise actually, the "Comission de Censure" (our own MPAA) delivered a visa that restricted the showing for people under 16. AFTER the movie was released, some catholic associations (antisemitic, pro-life and led by ex-fascists from WW2, if you see what I mean)went on to war in the medias and put pressure on politics to get the movie out of the theaters. That was the beginning of the Baise Moi affair. But the real taboo that this movie broke was the fact that famous pornstars (Coralie, Karen Black) could write, direct and perform a "real" movie. The european porn business is a cultural ghetto that you're not supposed to leave so easily. Old Europe is still a very corporatist place, where people "belong" or "do not belong" and they should get on with it for the rest of their lives. That's the reason pornstars are used by contemporary french film makers (see Rocco Siffredi in Romance) to break this strong and invisible barrier. Sure, that doesn't make the movies any better, but we're dealing with political matters here
May 18, 2001, 12:16 a.m. CST
by 855K Scoville
that "practically demands that he understand the simple truth about [some lame-assed WWII analogy that you tried to squeeze out]? Do you really think it's your place to condescend to people by telling them just how they must or must not feel by virtue of their heritage?!? What makes your comment extra unpleasant and jarring is that, given the extreme flimsiness of your analogy, it sure seems that you seized FIRST on Lieberman's supposed heritage, and only THEN tried (and failed) to tailor an argument that is somehow especially effective against a person of his heritage. In "Pretty Woman", Richard Gere's character said something like "I never treated you like a whore", and Julia Roberts' character replied, "You just did". Well, you don't even measure up to Richard Gere's character, because in your case, you treat Lieberman as a <person of his heritage> right off the bat, and you can't even make an initial boast about about not treating him as a <person of his heritage>.
May 18, 2001, 3:57 a.m. CST
On eduction. In he UK we have quite a bad sex education policy derived from fearful and reactionary conservatives. People belive we shouldnt discuss sex with pubecents. this stems from a puritan attitude and the sheer embarrasment of talking about sex. Consequently we have one of the highest underage pregnacy rates in Europe. We are up there with the third world. Also apparantly we are really into bondage (especialy old ex-public schoolboy tories). What the french refer to as the English weakness. In places like Scandinavia where there is more emphasis on sex education and more openness about sexuality in general the pregnacy rates are much lower along with sex related diseases and rapes etc. Blaming the media is a tiresome cop out. What film or TV show was Jack the Ripper watching? Responsability lies only with politicians who really shoud spend money on making or lives better. Money should be spent on Education, Health and Jobs along with removing poverty and disease. Not more bombs and giving even more money to big businesses so they can build more WalMarts on any more nature reserves. When I spent some time in New York I i took a train out to long Island. My impressions looking out the window was of wide open spaces all concreted over. I got off the train at random and walked out into a small town with an exclusively black population. I was expecting something like the small fishing town in Jaws. What I got was a shock. I couldnt belive the poverty those people were living in. All I saw was poor people with dead eyes and no chance of a job. I wouldnt want to get sick in america when hospitals cost so much. Is that the American dream? It reminded me of the north of England. Places like Sheffield and Rotherham where there used to be big steel factories. (is that like Pittsberg?) Now there is nothing.. except 10 year olds getting pregnant.
May 18, 2001, 4:04 a.m. CST
It was a long time ago that extreme violence and explicit sex in movies stopped being a novelty - much less a novelty that made a "statement"......... Nowadays, "mainstream" movies (such as SAVING PRIVATE RYAN) shows people having their skulls blown apart, and no one says "Stop this movie before kids start shooting each other like they did in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN"....... I think it's time filmmakers (and movie geeks) shrug off the illusion that violence is "cutting-edge" and automatically brings an "important message". Most movie violence is simply gratuitous. It should not be defended from ideological standpoints like "freedom of speech." How about "taste"? Does "taste" still exist in your culture? So this film is in bad taste. Fine. Just say it, without defending your view. Don't be ashamed to have a sense of taste.... Also, Americans are still very confused about sex... here we have one boring, pseudo-intellectual French movie that few people want to see, it has some depressing, sad sex scenes in it (that have no titillating effect whatsoever)..... and you're all up in arms whether it should be banned or not... Meanwhile, America produces more pornographic movies than any other country in the world. This debate is completely artificial....... How about making movies where people TALK about important issues? Such as TRAFFIC. I'd like to see more of that.
May 18, 2001, 7:07 a.m. CST
by Baise Man
ArtSnob - you are tragically ill informed. The print that is playing in the US is the actual, uncut version. What you are thinking about is the edited version that played in Ontario Only. This is the real mcoy. Baise Man
May 18, 2001, 7:12 a.m. CST
by Baise Man
Sorry to sit in a corner and snipe at other people, but Makolo is also sadly mis-informed. Baise Moi was pulled from release after 6 days - as it got slapped with an X rating was only able to play in Adult Theatres. Strangely enough, being France and all, there are like... 3 adult theatres in the entire country (or theareabouts) so with only being able to play in porn theatres (of which there is none) thus the word banned comes to the fore. They recently changed the laws in france, and the films x rating was lifted - and was released on Home Video about 2 months ago where it shippied an astonishing amount of units. Just to set the record straigt people.
May 18, 2001, 9:50 a.m. CST
well bold turk I think our problem is that we are totally unable to deal with bad moments of our recent history. Americans made several movies dealing with vietnam and more recently Three Kings dealt with the gulf war and those movies are criticizing those wars. But we never had a movie about the way our army behaved during the colonial war in Algeria, especially the fact that the militaries used torture. As for baise man yes makolo is right. The film was released with a restriction for people under the age of 16. Then the association makolo was talking about, which is an extremist and fascist associaition called Promouvoir asked the senate (or the state council I'm not sure which) to remove the film from the theaters. Then it was slapped with a X rating although some art cinemas kept it for a few more days. Extremists associations can be very dangerous in France. Back when Last temptation of the christ was released a cinema was burnt to the ground and more recently I underwent a fake bomb alert in a cinema that was playing Dogma.
May 18, 2001, 10:26 a.m. CST
(a) it never said they adjourned early, it just said he said it before they adjourned. (b) ``At first everyone was stunned but then they were rolling in the aisles. Several said that they really appreciated that,'' he said. For the lanugage-impaired, "Rolling in the aisles" implies *laughter*. He said it as a joke.
May 18, 2001, 1:15 p.m. CST
by bosco turk
or whatever your name is - do your read anything besides Republican propoganda? This may come as a big surprise to you, but you probably couldn't be more wrong about everything you said about energy is California. We have plenty of power, always have, always will - and the deregulation structure that you are fussing about (including the inability of prices to rise) was created by your esteemed Peter Wilson and a Republican legislature. You are an amazingly stupid human. Do yourself a favor and read some independent media so that you don't look like some moron parroting everything that Rush dash's off the top of his extraordinarily ill informed and unattractive head. You clearly don't know jackshit about anything including films.
May 18, 2001, 2:18 p.m. CST
For countglockula, environmentalists do not decide federal government regulations that set standards for industrial emissions (or other regulations). The executive agencies, in this case the EPA, do that. Environmentalists, businessmen, lobbyists, organizations and private citizens are all given the opportunity to comment on a proposed regulation before it is finalized. An example is the heavy-duty engine diesel emission rule inacted near the end of the Clinton administration, but which the EPA began work on about 18-months before. Both refiners and environmental groups provided comments on all aspects of the rule. When President Bush assumed office, he ordered a 60-day hold placed all new rules in order for them to be reviewed. However, the diesel emissions rule was eventually upheld by EPA Administrator Whitman. Ergo, does that make Bush an "environmentalist?" Finally, the question comes up, is "Rape Me" (which I haven't seen yet) protected by the First Amendment. I suppose that's for the courts to decide, but I would like to have the opportunity as a responsible, if somewhat disturbed, adult to say, "this sucks!" and walk out on it.
May 19, 2001, 10:02 a.m. CST
by bosco turk
"As for the stupid statement about Cali's power problems ,Blame your own past and present Gov's. They didn't do a thing about building new power plants . Deregulation as they implemented it was a joke. Who in the world does business like that. If i was the power companies i wouldn't have agreed to that deal" Who in the world does business like that? Republicans, you mororn! This was created and implemented by Republicans. If you read ANYTHING, you would know that. As for the power companies, they didn't have any choice. They were ordered by the state to sell the power plants. Yes, there is still plenty of power. There is no shortage of plants. There is simply no one selling power at the price they were last year. What's changed between then and now? Bush was elected. Texas energy firms now own the plants that supplied California's energy efficiently for years. A megawatt hour cost $200 a year ago, last week California paid $1900. Your obviously a loser whose got nothing going on in his life except these occasional pathetic attempts to be smarter than everyone else. This is the problem, dude; facts are facts. And all of yours were wrong. History is not opinion. We know who passed and implemented these laws and just because Rush doesn't know his dick from a firehose doesn't change history. Read a newspaper once in a while, asswipe.
May 20, 2001, 5:52 p.m. CST
Uh, yeah, this movie sucks. It was like a low rent Doom Generation, and The Doom Generation was the worst film I've ever seen. Those pesky Frenchmen. What will they come up with next? NOTE: If you are French, and you take offense at that, I'm sorry. It was a joke. In no way, do I dislike French people.
May 21, 2001, 6:16 p.m. CST
Uh, yeah, Nitz again, but, yeah, most Republicans suck, guys. I mean, George Bush, need I say more? And, I have to say that American citizens suck too, for voting this Idiot Savant into office. Does anyone but me find it very interesting and ironic, that when "W's" dad was in office, we got into disputes about oil. Now, his baby boy is in office, and what do you know? Gas prices skyrocket. But, please don't take this as an attack against Republicans only. Joe Lieberman sucks ass, too. But George Bush sucks more. NOTE: If you find these views offensive, you're not cool.
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