Comments Off on Baise-moi

Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi have taken the popular maxim that all a movie needs is “a boy, a girl and a gun” and put their own spin on it. In Despentes’ and Thi’s Baise-moi (2000) there’s plenty of guns, but there are no boys on the run. Baise-moi is a film about two women, surrogates for Despentes and Thi, who are propelled by rage beyond normal or acceptable society.

Baise-moi follows Nadine (Karen Lancaume) and Manu (Raffaƫla Anderson) as they, out of rage, fall out of society and turn to a life of crime. In rage they reject our collective culture and live beyond its social constraints. Their lives become violent, deadly, and progressively kinky. Their friendship and the ensuing mayhem place Nadine and Manu in the tradition of Wild At Heart (1990) and Natural Born Killers (1994).

As a film Baise-moi exists beyond the normal or acceptable. It is part pornography, part gross out gore movie and totally unashamed of either. Baise-moi is a film of rage not just against men or society generally, but against the aesthetic operations of the cinema that so often subjugate women. Baise-moi takes porn back, takes the “lovers on the run” trope back, and hyper-violence back for women who have been denied these modes of cinematic expression in their own movies.

The controversy around Baise-moi has little to do with the thematic content of the film and everything to do with the pornographic scenes of sex. These scenes are taken out of context and the film condemned. But why are scenes of explicit sex so objectionable? Baise-moi treats these scenes as matter-of-factly as the protagonists do. But that threatens the status quo and makes Baise-moi dangerously subversive.