Critics have attempted to undermine the grim intensity of this film by claiming it adopts a "separatist" position: the only sympathetic male character is an old derelict who poses no threat to the women. One could reply that it is equally plausible that the emphasis is intended as a corrective to many films which do not inquire into the gendered nature of violence. Instead, there is a tendency to focus on the "criminal genius" locked in mental combat with heroic authority figures. "Gebroken Spiegels" differs by drawing together the almost ritualised degradation experienced by the main characters who work in a brothel, and the repetitive atrocities of a serial killer. Irrespective of differences in individual circumstance, victims are shown to have been selected for a shared defining feature. The stark realism of the film has an almost documentary feel to it, and should stimulate debate on (feminist) resources of hope in diminished circumstances: one recalls how, in "A Hand Maid's Tale", (female) sociologists and other thinkers preferred to work as exotic entertainers for an elite who liked savouring the decadent pleasures forbidden to the "masses". Critical thought would be more tolerated in these circumstances than outside, if only as a kind of forbidden "exotic fruit". "GS" offers a different, although related context, which could also be usefully compared to "Female Perversions" and Lizzie Borden's revolutionary "Born in Flames."
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