(1999) from Tuna
The Girl (1999) is a minimalist noir lesbian erotic
film, and the first feature film from director.co-writer Sande Zeig.
It is shot in Paris, and uses French performers, but is in English. It
took Zeig over 5 years to get this film produced, mainly due to
difficulty finding funding. It is the story of a young lesbian painter
(Agathe De La Boulaye) who is in a committed relationship with pianist
Sandra Nkake. Their understanding is that each will sometimes be with
other women. Boulaye is infatuated with a straight nightclub singer,
Claire Keim, who is straight, but willing to experiment. Keim shares
nothing with her but sex, and also sleeps with a host of men, mostly
shady nightclub owners whom she thinks will help her career. Her boss
is the meanest and most possessive of the bunch, and sees Boulaye as a
threat. This leads to escalating violence.
|The film has great nudity, including full frontal, from Keim, breasts
from Nkake, and full frontal from Hélène Juren as a figure model in
art class. The director intentionally went for abstraction in the sex
scenes, showing lots of close-ups of unidentifiable patches of skin,
as she thought that was more erotic. I disagree completely with her
here. I found these close-ups of skin tone to be completely boring.
The atmosphere of the film, from the Left Bank locations, to the
nightclub interiors, to the hotel where Keim lived, was consistent,
and together with a great mellow jazz sound track, evoked a mood that
will be with me for a while. The film has minimal dialogue, and is
mostly narrated by the artist character.
see the main commentary
Critics weren't kind:
"A piss-poor attempt at soft core lesbian porn."
-- Eric Lurio, GREENWICH VILLAGE GAZETTE
"Dreary, leaden lesbian film-noir."
-- Jim Lane, SACRAMENTO NEWS & REVIEW
"Unfortunately, what you'll remember most are a pretty face and the
hot and steamy sex scenes. That is not enough."
-- Marta Barber, MIAMI HERALD
"The grandiose tendencies do not seriously diminish the film's
significant equation of love and freedom."
-- Kevin Thomas, LOS ANGELES TIMES
I think Zeig achieved exactly what she wanted to in this film, but am
undecided as to whether or not that is a good thing. She nailed the
ambiance, and had an interesting looking cast, but, for me, it was not
very erotic, taught no great truths about lesbianism, and could have
used a lot more in the way of plot. Yet, the imagery and sound track
did make an impression on me. So, if you like "minimalist noire
lesbian erotic film," be sure and see this one. Otherwise, you will
probably not want to bother.
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this description, this
film is a C.
the Movie House home page