Toronto International Film Festival Ang Lee, Burns win top prizes
BY ALEXANDRA GILL
FILM CRITIC, TORONTO
Saturday September 16, 2000
TORONTO -- Everybody in the festival's Gallic delegation has been talking about l'affaire (the scandal) of the week.
The explicitly sexual French film Baise-Moi arrived with a bang at the festival this week and now everyone is talking about it. The film, a hard-core spin on the Thelma-and-Louise roadtrip formula, follows two serial killers (played by female porn stars) who go on an anarchic sexual spree packing guns in their lace panties.
It was produced and written by French "adult-film" actress Coralie Trinh Thi and Virginie Despentes, who wrote the original novel.
Featuring real acts of sexual penetration and extreme brutality, Baise-Moi proved too harsh even for uninhibited Parisian audiences.
The film has been picked up in Canada by Remstar Distributing. Maxime Rémillard, co-president of the Montreal company, says he savours the controversy and hopes the film will "make a lot of money." Opinion in the French artistic community, however, is divided between those who call the film a "martyr" in the wars about gender politics and freedom of expression and others who sneer at its gratuitous nihilism.
Tony Gatliff, director of Vengo, agreed. "It's not a film. It's a stunt. But it's interesting because it makes people talk about the rights of women. And it's good that these things exist."
Françoise Romand (La Règle du Je) loved it. "Because it's from a woman's point of view. Men want us to be angels and we're not. But look at me," she added, pointing to her red-vinyl miniskirt and cheetah-print boots. "I could have been in the film."