|Index||3 reviews in total|
As deranging as it may be, this film is a landmark and to me represents a decisive moment in Quebec cinema, taking the feminist movement to the screen with violence and truth. Those willing to sit through the first 15 minutes, a long, harsh rape scene shot through the eyes of the victim, will discover a thoroughly disturbing and highly human piece of cinematic art.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this at a film festival years ago. At the same time feminists
were decrying harsh pornographic images, the National Film Board of
Canada found it okay for feminist filmmakers to use the same type of
imagery to target the evildoers! Not A Love Story is one example -
featuring hardcore footage -- and this is another. The movie opens with
a depiction of confinement, rape, and urination on the female that
could have been ripped from some exploitation picture. But of course
here the images are used for a good purpose so it's okay. There is also
rather bombastic though efffective use of stock footage from war and
ethnography, as well as recreations which are suggested as part of
stock footage. Feminists today may look at the film from a slightly
different perspective, as promoting the sense of total victimhood. This
film is also dated by the then-orthodox view that rape is strictly a
crime of violence and not actually sexual, whereas later feminists such
as Paglia dismiss this vew. There are many suspect aspect of this
docudrama is the presentation of the actor playing the rapist as many
other males in society. The suggestion is that any man -- or everyman
-- is a rapist. And getting back to exploitation -- it is amazing there
was no concern expressed over the filmmakers inclusion of young girls
in the film, marched out with heads bowed while a group of women
describe comprehensively how they (the girls) have all been raped in
In sum, this film is all over the place, using subjective camera techniques to create a high- impact sense of violent sexaul assault by a man, then pulling back to present the female filmmakers discussing the scene in clinical terms, then jumping into classic documentary propaganda technique, before immersing itself in stylized theatrical scenes of women describing rape in ultimate terms (the crime is worse than war victims, we are informed), before going back into the fictional realism that started the movie -- adroitly mirroring the image of the lead female after being raped with an image of her after her male partner tries to make love to her a few weeks later. Then an additonal mirroring image is used to reinforce the message that this woman is defined by rape in life, and then she kills herself. But even then it is not over for the viewer - a message about women wearing whistles is followed by whistle sounds emanating from every nook and cranny in society, before they are sonically married with sounds of war sirens to drive home the message that rape is everywhere and the situation is a state of siege.
This film may well be anti-male -- the rapist's statement that when he was 13 he and his buddies wanted to and tried to rape a girl proves that -- but it is also anti-female.
A stunning movie is not only for 1979 but also for 2005.
The movie shares the feeling of the women who suffer rape and the consequence. It is very shocking. And the vision is not limited in Quebec but also the world. Not only the Quebecoise suffers the sexual violence but also the women in Africa, in France, and in Vietnam. What is the worst is the consequence of the rape and the social ignorance of the protection for victim.
It is a fictional documentary but it is even more convinced and powerful than documentary itself. The filmmaker is very smart and skillful to present many aspects in such a limited space. Most of the victims keep silent because they feel ashamed of themselves. That is one of the reasons why seldom people understand them and thus can help them. This film offers a space for victim to speak out their feeling and also for audience to know about the violence and its consequence.
It is one of my favorite films.
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