Anatomy of Hell (2004) from Tuna

Anatomie de L'enfer (2004), which is translated Anatomy of Hell, is the newest flagrantly controversial film from Catherine Breillat (Romance, Fat Girl).

As the film opens, Amira Casar is the only woman in a gay club. She goes into the restroom, and slits her wrist with a razor blade. A man walks in, asks her why she did it, and she answers, "Because I am a woman." He takes her to a druggist who bandages the cut, then she rewards him with a blow job, after which she hires him to come "watch her where she is unwatchable."

The dialogue to this point was that special kind of obtuse babble only found in French art films. Not only that, but a very involved dolly shot caught my attention, detracting from the film. I was gearing myself up to hate the film before it really got started. Then I thought, "the wrist cutting scene was very realistic and did evoke a response in me, so I will keep an open mind here. Maybe this will go somewhere after all."

  • The first night he shows up, she strips and lounges while having obtuse conversation with him when he isn't out getting a drink. It ends with him painting lipstick around her privates and on her lips, then having sex with her. He must not have been able to maintain an erection, because he becomes upset, and she comforts him.

  • The highlight of night two is his insertion of a hoe handle into her garden. He leaves it there and falls asleep in a chair.

  • Night three is where I stopped keeping an open mind. She removes a drenched Tampax, dips it several times in a glass of water, and then the two drink it.

  • On night four, they have rather brutal sex, and he leaves.

Complete Spoilers Ahead

Afterwards, he is complaining about her to a gay friend, but admits that they had shared "total intimacy." He goes back to find her, and she is gone. Then, either he throws her off a cliff into the sea, or he fantasizes about doing so.

End Spoilers

The ridiculous dialogue did reveal the theme of the film, which is something like, "All men really hate women and secretly want to kill them, mostly because they have periods."

If this is the result of a real director making a porn film, it is not nearly as good an idea as I previously thought. The photography and lighting were good to excellent, and the leads maintained the tone throughout, which indicates technical competence, but I can't imagine how anyone could like this film.


Scoop's notes in yellow:

I haven't seen this and, Lord willing, I never will, but I love this entry in the credits:

Manuel Taglang as Blow-job lover #2

If I ever decide to resume my acting career, I think I could play that part in the road show cast. In fact, I'll bet I could handle that role and also understudy for the far more challenging role of Blow-job lover #1.



Amira Casar was completely naked for most of the film, and in good light. There were also genital close-ups, but they were a double.

Porn star Rocco Siffredi, as the man, shows Mr. Happy at full alert more than once.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Roger Ebert 1/4

  • British critics averaged one and a half stars only because of a shocking rave review from BBC: Mail 2/10, Telegraph 5/10, Times 2/10, Mirror 4/10, BBC 4/5.

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own 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. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). 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. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a D-. Technically competent, but unwatchable.

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