Monday, November 29, 2010

"The Exterminating Angels" - A contemplation

I just finished watching the French film, "The Exterminating Angels" Les anges exterminateurs (original title) by Writer / Director, Jean-Claude Brisseau. The story follows a filmmaker (Frédéric van den Driessche), who holds a series of boundary-pushing auditions for his project about female pleasure. 

Jean-Claude Brisseau (born 17 July 1944) is a French filmmaker best known for his 2002 film Secret Things ("Choses Secrètes") and his 2006 film The Exterminating Angels ("Les Anges exterminateurs").
The film is well written and directed, as well as beautifully shot and erotic. Someone said that this is pure filmmaking in the finest and most sublime manner, and I would have to agree. 
The Three Fates by Sampo Kaikkonen
All of the negative consequences that François experiences come from the "other side" (even to the extent that one of his actors is possessed by the devil). His wife leaves him, not for what he is doing as regards to the filming of naked women in sexual encounters, this sort of thing she is used to as the wife of a filmmaker, but her motive lies in a moral impulse stemming from the spiritual ramifications of what he was doing. He becomes something like modern day mythological figure. He is Pandora's patron encouraging her to open the box.

The director in this film is searching for actresses who can project a perfect, even spiritual orgasm. As he puts it, you cannot teach incredible sex in an acting class. He is a prefect example of decorum and correctness, in every way other than what he is asking of the actresses, which itself is a reasonable request, considering the subject matter of the film project.

So the issues and problems all come from women and those connected to women in his endeavors. The effect of his actions leads to negative repercussions from the women in his life, to the point that one of the actresses in his film, appears to be possessed by the Devil. In the end, he looses everything, including his wife. She doesn't leave him for his actions as she had known all about it from the beginning, but because of the damage he causes around him in spiritual, or even Karmic ways.

In the end, he has asked for these women to dig down deeper inside themselves than they ever had gone before, or even had known they could go to. The intense sex leads to emotion, which leads to pain, which leads to all the wrong things that happen in the end.

Two Angels, "The Exterminating Angels" from the title, follow him around throughout the film, as if they are two of the three Fates. One of them appears to be in love with him and in the end, actually saves him, possibly because she thinks that because he was so naive about his actions, perhaps losing everything, is in the end, enough punishment. Though in how she responds to his situation, one almost could suspect she takes pleasure in his pain, perhaps because of how justified things end for him.

In 2002 Brisseau was arrested on charges of harassment, fined and given a suspended one-year prison sentence. The plaintiffs were three women who had performed sex acts in front of him during their auditions. This was to form the basis of the The Exterminating Angels movie. - Wikipedia

One of the things I found most fascinating about this tale, was in the director's anguish in the end, for his actions in delving deep into another's sexuality, taking them further than they had ever gone, taking them further than they had ever even known they could go. This is fascinating for the initiator, extremely pleasurable typically, for the subject(s), but in the end, it can be extremely destructive. Not only to the individuals involved, but also to all those around them. 

Where you might expect that someone, especially considering they are doing it willingly, would like to explore the depths of passions that they could experience, or to "find themselves", to discover new areas where they find erotic pleasure, in a free and open way; many times in hindsight, what happens is that the person regrets, feels exposed, or abandoned. This can then lead to anger, or simply ego damage. And that, can lead to some very, very ugly lashing out behavior. And not always by the subject in question, but at times, by those close to them, or who love them. 

Overall, I found the movie entertaining, engrossing and affective. Someone once told me that a good movie is one that sticks with you for days after having viewed it. I can see that this is one of those films.


  1. Hi,

    I noticed that you have used my painting "Three Fates" on your blog. You may use the photo but please include my name and preferably a link to my website along with it. Thanks!

    Best regards,
    Sampo Kaikkonen