Three women meet by chance at the end of the world and set out on a polyamorous journey which will change them to the extent of returning them to their native city as different people. Subjects who suffer from the established order, from the irreversible nature of passion and from the Utopian approach of a single love, they are caught up in the search for new kinds of relationships, far from possession and pain as the unavoidable finality of love and obeying none of the rules. That's how they become The Daughters of Fire: a band dedicated to accompanying other women in the search for their own erotica, for the way each one wants to be in a world ignorant of the voluptuousness of detachment.Written by
There is something about pleasure that is impossible to represent. There is no way of creating verisimilitude. We end up losing ourselves for hours in the forearm of a loved one, letting the marks of that skin render us dizzy. I want to lose my mind, I want to lose it all, I want my pussy to become a generous, mooching hole. How to show this in a porno? If there's no trick, and there's pleasure, sensuality, availability, time, is it porn? Or is pornography just the objectification of the bodies...
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This is the real deal. Its poetry is bold and unapologetic; its craft lithe, assured, and completely realised. Its themes and ideas are conveyed with fierce cogency. It takes a complex question - essentially: can pornography be truly empowering to women? - and essays it with a verve that gave me the giddy rush of seeing an at-his-peak Godard for the first time.
It is intellectually thrilling, but emotionally moving, too. It dances along the fine line between the intellectual and the base with a daring grace. (Is it pornography? Is it meta-pornography?)
The Daughters of Fire is formally inventive and philosophically incisive in a way that should embarrass Haneke for his hollow edgelord bloviating, or Von Trier with his juvenile provocations, would that they had any shame. Yet, this film is (at time of writing) pretty much unheard of, invisible. (But sure, tell me again that cinema isn't institutionally sexist.)
This is the first time I can truly say I watched a movie with *zero* concession to the male gaze. I'm a man, and this film was not made for me. And that is both the most refreshing thing about it (to me), and why my thoughts on it, and this very review, are joyously irrelevant.
I expect many men, should they bother to watch it at all, may feel threatened by this film and write reviews that attempt to belittle it in various ways. ("I'm not threatened, it's just really badly lit", etc.)
They shall have their tantrums. This film will prove resilient. If films can be important and meaningful to the world - and of course they can - then The Daughters of Fire is as significant as they come. (No pun intended.)
It's an extraordinary achievement. Given the film's radically ambitious aims - to examine representation of (queer) women's bodies, paradigms of female pleasure, and the integration of eroticism, pornography and poetry into a structurally feminist worldview - it's bordering on the miraculous how great it is.
Above insight, catharsis, and joy, the greatest feeling a film can leave a viewer with, I think, is gratitude. I felt it after watching The Daughters of Fire.
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