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Anatomy Of Hell (2003)

Cast: Amira Casar, Rocco Siffredi, Catherine Breillat, more...
Director: Catherine Breillat
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Tartan
Genre: Drama, Foreign, France, Experimental/Avant-Garde
Running Time: 77 min.

Provocative filmmaker Catherine Breillat (Romance) returns with her latest and most controversial film yet! Over four nights in a house in the middle of nowhere, a woman on the verge pays a handsome stranger to watch her "where she's unwatchable." Confronting the unspeakable, discovering the unshowable, and sharing the unsharable, they learn the real secrets of how men truly see women, and how women truly see themselves. Pushing the boundaries of cinema, Anatomy of Hell will only be available in its original theatrical, unrated version.

GreenCine Member Reviews

Sex Education by talltale February 20, 2005 - 11:29 AM PST
6 out of 8 members found this review helpful
I've run warm and cool to the films of Catherine Breillat (liked "Romance" and Brief Crossing"; didn't care as much for "Fat Girl" or "A Real Young Girl"). With ANATOMY OF HELL, I find myself in awe. I've never experienced anything like this. It may well be a great film--one that stands the test of time.

Breillat explores men and women, their conflicting needs, desires, and experience, and she does this through sex. While some of the scenes may shock, once begun, you'll probably continue because of this writer/director's honest, evenhanded--yet strange--approach. "Anatomy" is like a fable, a dream, in which a man who prefers pleasuring himself with other men meets and forms an odd bond with a woman. More than in any of her other films, Breillat comes closest to visual art, from her choice of sets and furnishings (the crucifix, the alternately subtle and scathing use of red) to the fabulous house by the sea, the cacti outside, the majestic ocean, and most particularly the bodies of the two leads.

Amira Casar, her white skin gleaming against that dark hair, is like a great artist's nude portrait come to life. Rocco Siffredi (of "Romance") is the perfect male--neither young nor old, beautiful yet masculine, vulnerable but strong and generously proportioned sexually. He's a fine example of Kinsey's hetero/homosexual continuum, and the film becomes his character's story more than hers, as Breillat admits in the fascinating interview on the DVD.

"Anatomy of Hell" (not the best title, I think: she could have as easily called it "Anatomy of Heaven") is both an art film and a philosophical inquiry. Disagree with it you may (I found an occasional line of dialog more pretentious than revealing), but if you're interested in men and women, sex and civilization--and can handle the sight of an erection and menstrual blood--don't miss the chance to experience it and grapple with it. Afterward, watch that interview with Breillat. Then you'll probably want to see the film all over again.

be warned by WDiComo January 29, 2005 - 3:08 PM PST
10 out of 14 members found this review helpful
Prior to the rolling of the film, Ms. Breillat announces that for the most intimate moments, a body double is used. Not an appetizing beginning.
More than any of her other films, this is like a stage production, as almost all action takes place in one room.
Part of Ms. Breillat's success in previous films lies in some attention to erotic set-up as characters and locations varied. Perhaps here, the director had a shrunken budget.
Her typical theme of self-destructive women who spout nihilistic bombast is present, but in the one room seems to just lie there, among empty stares. Yes, there's lots of nudity and some simulated kinkiness, but it mostly comes across as kind of clinical. Except for "Sex Is Comedy", I'm familiar with all the Breillat films you can rent at Greencine. "Anatomy of Hell" is the worst of the lot.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 5.26)
102 Votes
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