March 7, 2007
Exterminating Angels."A date that begins with Exterminating Angels, Jean-Claude Brisseau's suave and salacious new movie, is likely to end up either in bed or in court," surmises AO Scott in the New York Times. "Or maybe both, which might be most fitting, since one of Mr Brisseau's subjects is the volatility of desire, the way the path of erotic curiosity can swerve from satisfaction into recrimination and confusion. A porno-philosopher in the venerable French tradition, he blends a frank appeal to the audience's nether regions with some teasing attention to its mind." In the New York Press, Eric Kohn reminds us of the director's time spent in court, defending himself: "Brisseau seems to have coaxed several women into pleasuring themselves during private rehearsal sessions, but if you believe the stance put forth in Angels, his motives were entirely professional." As for the film at hand, Kohn finds it "doesn't offer the inspired amalgam of fornication and sentimentality brilliantly executed in John Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus. It's far too sullen for that—and less explicit, surprisingly enough. The merits of Angels stem from Brisseau's nuanced portrait of desire masquerading as inspiration, which makes the movie more of a self-indictment than I imagine he intended." Updated through 3/8. "Exterminating Angels is one audaciously, endearingly ludicrous movie," writes Rob Nelson in the Voice. "Indeed, not since Basic Instinct has a modern noir gotten so playfully aroused by straight-male sexual phobia - the twist in this case being that the maker of the film has firsthand knowledge of the subject." "In Brisseau's hands, sex is dangerous and wonderfully incomprehensible," writes Nick Pinkerton at indieWIRE. "Brisseau is an artist attuned to the spiritual, looking for transcendence in orgasm, that place where the 'grace of the pleasure on their faces' intersects with the gratitude and surrender of Bernini's St Theresa (the syllogism isn't a fresh one, but this doesn't damper the beauty). The autocritique ends in a practical admission of failure... But it should be noted that Brisseau's failures outdo many a masterpiece." Also: An interview. Earlier: acquarello, Daniel Kasman and, in Slant, Ed Gonzalez. Update, 3/8: "Brisseau's curdled anger is naked as a lima bean," writes Michelle Orange, "moreso even than his three eager beavers; though his stand-in never whips it out, it is blazingly clear that this entire film is his attempt to nail those women to the wall, smearing his ideation of pure female pleasure as somehow unsound, vindictive and out of control across an entire sex. Fuck me? Fuck you." So the Reeler's ST VanAirsdale asks him, more or less, about all this.
Posted by dwhudson at March 7, 2007 2:52 PM