The second part of acclaimed French director Jean-Claude Brisseau’s trilogy exploring society’s taboos, The Exterminating Angels is all based around sex and sexual fantasy. Ostensibly an examination of women’s innermost desires, it nonetheless plays out like your average male’s wet dream, involving graphic all-female threesomes and two women mutually masturbating each other at a table in a busy restaurant. So far, so porno chic, then.
The plot follows the tribulations of movie maker Francoic (Van Den Griessche), whose aim is to make an experimental film about taboos and pleasure, and who insists on screen-testing would-be actresses by having them orgasm in front of his handheld camera. Eventually, he comes up with three willing participants for his movie: the disturbed Charlotte (Dubreuil), convinced she is possessed by the devil; the provocative Julie (Bellynck), who is in love with him; and the shocking Stephanie (Allan), who is in love with Charlotte.
Meanwhile, many of the characters’ actions, particularly those of our voyeuristic film-maker, are guided by the suggestions of the two -exterminating angels’ of the title, like Wings Of Desire meets Emanuelle. While it’s undoubtedly erotic in parts and has elements of humour (including an Office-esque scene when one would-be actress asks Francois to critique her -sexy dance’), surrealism and pathos (his conversation with a former child actress, with its fitting description of actors with ‘egos as big as cathedrals’), Brisseau’s film is ultimately let down by the fact that we, as an audience, care little for what happens to its cast of genuinely dislikeable characters, despite its decidedly unhappy ending.
Director: Jean-Claude Brisseau.
Starring: Frederic Van Den Driessche, Maroussia Dubreuil, Lise Bellynck, Marie Allan.
Running Time: 98 minutes
Extras: -Cinema According to Brisseau’ featurette, Deleted Scene, Stills Gallery.
For fans of: high class erotica, Basic Instinct, French surrealism.