Anatomy of Hell

This horridly tasteless lump of a movie points to how Catherine Breillat is another modern filmmaker who, along with Michael Heneke, Lars von Trier, and Bruno Dumont, is reducing cinema to nothing but a medium for turgid intellectual dross. It isn’t necessarily pretentious. Its design, rather, is straightforward and symmetrical through which Breillat expresses her views clearly and succinctly. Yet there is absolutely no reason for this movie to exist. This is a model of wasted ideas featuring two pissy excuses for actors (Siffredi, by the way, is a popular Italian porn star with Anatomy being his bid for mainstream legitimacy). While the ideas expressed by the aforementioned rabble of filmmakers are certainly legitimate, their decision to strip cinema of any semblance of human substance, even-handedness, and an open-minded attention to the needs of storytelling make their work by and large excruciating to sit through. Anatomy of Hell, as a result, is a stodgy, turgid parable about sexual politics as an incomprehensibly stolid woman makes a deal with a woman-hating gay man to explore the nature of sexuality with her. They moodily ponder how men have historically subjugated women out of fear–an interesting enough theme to be sure, but there’s nothing revolutionary about it. Worse yet, the sparse, repetitive structure and archetypal schematics make this tripe impossible to digest. I could follow the whole menstrual-blood banter up to a point, before it became a ridiculous, nauseating display of one man overcoming his fear of menses by swilling it down cocktail-style. A waste of cinema, and of precious time. Nice try, Breillat…but no tampon.

Grade: F

Directed by: Catherine Breillat
Written by: Catherine Breillat
Cast: Amira Casar, Rocco Siffredi

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