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Anatomie de l’enfer (Anatomy of Hell) | Review

Not everyone’s Cup of Tea

Breillat’s provides a Pandora’s box full of shock value.

Its one thing to inject a little shock value to hype up a picture but it is another thing to intentionally create something strictly out of bad taste. Director-screenwriter Catherine Breillat’s X-rated exploration of sexual power, perversity, hatred and the treatment of the female image and body is quite frankly, a bloody mess. Anatomy of Hell is the type of pretentious feature that will leave audiences squirming in their seats and exiting for the door, but its the complete absence of even one redeeming human value factor or one thought-provoking stimulant that sinks this film into an abyss of stupidity. Set in a bare bedroom, a woman (Amira Casar) entertains her psyche and physical needs with a four-night romp with a male-escort (Rocco Siffredi). Being the man that he is – he takes a mental bashing, violates her body, assumes a short-distanced gaze and plays a gynecologist in training. Served cold, the main course includes a visual description of the menstruation cycle and applies it to the cycle of violence in the male gaze. It’s interesting that Breillat is willing to amputate her own novel-turned film piece by hiring a porn-star wannabe actor to play the stiff whose willing to take on the unloving abuse. Though we get the point and the artist’s mandate – this session in male bashing would have been more productive with an established actor in the role. Breillat’s takes her regular female point of view into a catastrophic extreme – the film’s dialogue and its delivery is atrocious and the narration from the director shows that she can’t get what she needs from her lead figures. Anatomy of Hell come across like a bad art gallery exhibition – there are plenty of pieces but not one is able to express the artist’s intentions.

Rating 0 stars

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include 1976 (Manuela Martelli), Godland (Hlynur Pálmason), Corsage (Marie Kreutzer), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen).

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