Anatomie de l’enfer /Anatomy of Hell (2004)

Director: Catherine Breillat
Starring: Amira Casar, Rocco Siffredi. France 1h 17m
Based on: Pornocratie by Catherine Breillat

This slightly strangely off putting art house erotica drama see the plights of man vs woman and slowly discovers what we always knew, and that the sexes really are planets apart.

This taboo sequel to the equally taboo shocker Romance X (1999) see Catherine Breillat boldly challenge many more darker crevices within the sexual psyche of a woman who, in Romance was shunned by her lover, seeking love and affection then sex and kink elsewhere, while in the Anatomy of Hell, we discover more about the boyfriend, adoringly known as Man and played by porn star Rocco Siffredi, we see his reasoning behind his unusual character.

A lonely and dejected woman, whose only known as The Woman (Casar) throughout the  film stalks the streets at night looking for company, stumbling into a gay bar she drinks, bumps into all the gay guys and seemly out of it, hits a new low, her suicide attempt in the clubs toilets is thwarted by a concerned stud, after rescuing her she makes him a proposition, she invites him to visit her and watch her silently for four nights while she’s “unwatchable”. Begrudgingly he agrees to continue to help and the two being a strange journey.

I am a person alone, resists the whole world despairingly.

It’s a hard film to really get into, for a few moments, watching a woman bleed all over her bed and making her gay friend drink a cup of tampon tea, I did question why I was indulging, I’ve seen sicker films but they were over the top violence that can’t be justified while this was just uncomfortable, for the most part it’s becomes interesting and is just one of those art films that just had to be made. I do admire when taboo subjects get addressed and a lot gets not just uncovered but is laid bare and put under the microscope.

It’s announced at the beginning of the movie that Amira Casar, used a body double for her sex scenes, which suggests that Rocco Siffredi did all of his porny scenes, but he didn’t, drinking some vampy tea was fine but a gay blowjob was obviously too much for the Italian Stallion. I fully understand how the film doesn’t gel with many, it straddles the porn barrier but while it’s a fraction of the 77 minutes it’s grossly graphic and it doesn’t leave you with a happy feeling, the middle and end just merge into more what the fuck moments. It’s more than just some freak show voyeurism, there is a lot of challenging issues but do they require a film to be made about them, meh…

The characters start to have profound effect on each other, there’s a brief moment near the end where The Man stands on the cliff watching the ocean and gives some insight that the period had an effect on him, I wonder if this is the point of the film, I’m sure there’s something more profound in the sheets of this tragic play but it’s not a story factor that is constantly hammered home, Breillat gives us enough to think about but not much guidance into what SHE was thinking about. If you find yourself feeling lost in the Anatomy of Hell, then the only questions you have to answer is what do you understand about the other sex, your sexuality and how much about the human body do you ignore.

Rating: 6/10

R: Fat Girl (2001), Romance X (1999),

One thought on “Anatomie de l’enfer /Anatomy of Hell (2004)”

  1. Great review. I have several of Director Breillat’s films, such as “Romance”, “Fat Girl” and “Sex Is Comedy” – and I interviewed her at the Cannes Film Festival for that last one. She was articulate and insightful, and always pushing boundaries, even if not always successfully…

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