Combustible Celluloid
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With: Frédéric Van Den Driessche, Maroussia Dubreuil, Lise Bellynck, Marie Allan, Raphaële Godin, Margaret Zenou, Sophie Bonnet, Jeanne Cellard, Virginie Legeay, Estelle Galarme, Marine Danaux, Apolline Louis
Written by: Jean-Claude Brisseau
Directed by: Jean-Claude Brisseau
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: French with English subtitles
Running Time: 100
Date: 03/19/2013

Exterminating Angels (2007)

2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Jean-Claude Brisseau's new Exterminating Angels, which opens in San Francisco at the Roxie Cinema, is based on events that purportedly happened during and after his 2002 film Secret Things (a.k.a. Choses secrètes); he was accused of sexually harassing young actresses, cajoling them into masturbating during an audition. He was fined but served no jail time. Now he returns with this story of a film director François (Frédéric Van Den Driessche), who intends to make a movie about female sexuality. Unfortunately, his idea of female sexuality plays more like a man's lurid lesbian fantasies. François interviews several young women. Many refuse his requests to "perform" for him, but he winds up with three adventurous actresses, Charlotte (Maroussia Dubreuil), Julie (Lise Bellynck) and Stéphanie (Marie Allan), each of whom begin to act obsessive, vicious and depraved, all while François watches. (He apparently has no directorial authority over them.) They sleep together for their audition, decide that they like it and continue to sleep together, touch each other, and more. All the while, unseen angels (?), with ponytails and black tank tops, watch. The movie is not short on moaning, writhing and ample nudity, but -- as with Secret Things -- Brisseau refuses to let his movie settle into exploitation. He continues to insist that he's doing something artistic and/or truthful, plugging the movie into that ugly middle ground: pretentiousness. It's not smart enough to actually pull off what it purports to do, and it's not free enough to simply enjoy itself. (Note: not to be confused with Luis Bunuel's 1962 masterpiece The Exterminating Angel.){subid}&url=hitlist.asp?searchfield=marvel
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