1 April 2015 | lazarillo
Kind of a litmus test for an appreciation for French cinema in general
This movie starts out with a VERY common French movie plot about two young women--a homeless drifter (Anouk Grinsberg) and a teenager (Charlotte Gainsbourg) whose parents are away--befriending each other and deciding to "explore their sexuality" together. Director Bertrand Blier then, however, decides to spin the story in all kinds of, uh, interesting, directions. The two mischievous minxes torment a slow-witted handyman with cherry bombs and by nearly blowing up his car before they both have sex with him (shades of "Don't Deliver Us from Evil"). Even in these more "realistic" scenes though the footage switches from really bleached out to brightly colored, and the actresses costumes suddenly change accordingly (much like Peter Greenaway's "The Cook, the Thief, his wife, and Her Lover").
There is then a long horror-ish sub-plot where it turns out the older of the girls has been intentionally infected with a dangerous and contagious venereal disease by a mad doctor (Gerard Depardieu)--kind of like a black comedy version of David Cronenberg's "Shivers"--and the whole town is howling for her blood. Then suddenly the movie goes into a bizarre version of "Back to the Future" where the two girls are apparently back in time and trying to convince the younger girl's parents to conceive her. The older girl promises sex to the milquetoast father in order to get him interested in his wife while the younger girl reasonably points out that if she isn't born, he will never get to have sex with her friends later! In the middle of all this, there is an annoying Fellini-esque device with a film crew hanging around, which suggests the whole thing is just a movie--although even for a movie, it's bizarre beyond belief. And the end probably goes too far with Holocaust imagery of a lot of naked people packed on a freight train. . .
I would actually consider this movie a litmus test of how much you like French art cinema in general. If you find this pretentious and indulgent, you probably don't, but if you find it entertaining in its off-the-wall irreverence and failure conform to the standard Hollywood movie structure, you would almost certainly be a fan of French cinema in general. I think pretty EVERYBODY is a fan of sexy French actresses though regardless. Anouk Grinsberg has all the nude/sex scenes, but then 19-year-old Charlotte Gainsbourg spends most of the movie in a pair of very short cut-offs that accentuate her long legs and perfect body. I would reckon it would take this younger Gainsbourg about five minutes to seduce any of the idiot males who call her "ugly" nowadays simply because she has had the temerity to appear in fairly explicit Lars Von Trier movies even though she is in her early forties now.
Although this definitely tried my patience at times, I can't say I didn't like it. I would recommend it to fans of French cinema in general, but if you really don't like French cinema, you should probably avoid it.