Fat Girl: Art? Porn? How 'bout SLUDGE?

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Remo D
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Fat Girl: Art? Porn? How 'bout SLUDGE?

Post by Remo D » Sun Dec 23, 2001 1:36 pm

Considering what's done with the underage actresses involved, I suppose I should mention off the bat that even though this is a film by Catherine Breillart (ROMANCE), there is NO actual hardcore material. What we're left with is disturbing enough.

FAT GIRL is another recent critics' favorite: it's a "bold, daring, shocking exploration of sexuality and its effect on the lives of two adolescent sisters..." blah-blah-blah. No doubt it's a beautifully acted film created by a skilled professional--hats off to the young cast, all right? But could somebody please tell me what I'm supposed to take away from this film that I couldn't find in GINGER SNAPS--which I finally caught up with? Reality--that will be the first answer, most likely. But surely this couldn't be intended as some sort of universal coming of age story? (And I've seen some pretty effective ones there already, too.)

Twelve year old Anais, on vacation with her family, has to lie there and watch as her fifteen year old sister Elena gets seduced by a local stud. Elena doesn't really want to lose her virginity (though Anais is desperate to), so the boyfriend cajoles her into doing all sorts of other things, instead.

Shall we say SPOILER TIME here?

Okay, SPOILER TIME if you want to see it.

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Okay--long story short. The young chubby girl (after all sorts of soul-searching conversations with her sister) also gets to be there when Elena finally goes all the way--the boyfriend turns out to be a flighty louse (surprise surprise), the mother catches on and angrily whisks the girls away. Elena wishes out loud that her mother was dead and that she were dead, too--all Anais wants is to lose her virginity to a guy she doesn't care about so that she won't have any emotional ties.

SUPER SPOILER HERE--NO WAY NOT TO GIVE AWAY THE ENDING

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They stop at a rest area--and during the night, a psycho breaks through their windshield, bashes Elena's skull in with a wrench, strangles the mother, and graphically rapes Anais. But she tells the police that he didn't rape her because she got just what she wanted.

Sorry, folks--it's easy to fall in with the critics and call it art--even disturbing art (and yeah, I've seen SALO, okay?). To me, FAT GIRL was just, well, sludge. The kind that made me want to shower it off. If you've got to resort to a nude twelve-year-old (gee, remember the flap over Thora Birch's nude scene in AMERICAN BEAUTY? Somehow it just doesn't seem that big a deal anymore) having her panties jammed into her mouth while she's banged by a slobbering pervert, was the point that imperative to make in the first place? And no, I don't know the exact ages of the children that were actually involved here offhand.

Don't worry about me joining the ranks of the arch-conservative censorship criers--I'm not calling for a ban of any sort. Just don't ask me to sing this film's praises or suggest to me that I'm somehow missing the point of it all. Perhaps parents need to pay close attention to the thoughts and feelings of their growing children. Guess what? I knew that already.
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David Austin
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Post by David Austin » Sun Dec 23, 2001 7:05 pm

Remo - Even though I know I will be denied hardcore fuck-suck action, I can't wait to see FAT GIRL. From your review and the discription therein, it sounds like a real winner.

You brought up a VERY valid point, however. I admired a lot of Catherine Breillat's ROMANCE for its' individual moments of great power. However, I didn't like the film as a whole. Much like Abel Ferrara (a director Breillat has much in common with), ROMANCE is bogged down with too much pseudo-philosophy and a general confusion. Did it aspire to be naughty thrills? Or maybe something more existential? Who knows.

That said, I find Catherine Breillat's movies interesting, and she definitely is somebody to watch for in the near future.

Remo, by any chance have you ever seen LOVE IS A DOG FROM HELL? I'm asking because the two films (FAT GIRL and LOVE IS A DOG) are pretty much cut from the same cloth.




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Post by DylanDog » Sun Dec 23, 2001 7:15 pm

My friend was just telling me about this movie last week. He had read the reviews about how it had the most shocking ending ever, etc. He said it was so boring he walked out after about a half hour.

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Post by Remo D » Mon Dec 24, 2001 2:11 pm

David--no, haven't seen LOVE IS A DOG FROM HELL--should I? If I notice it around, I'll rent it.

Dylan--if it hadn't been for that ending, I would have said the same thing--the film was, frankly, a bore up till then (but a well-acted bore--I refuse to say anything bad about the cast). The seduction scene goes on freakin' forever. Anais sings sad songs to herself interminably. And the drive home just goes on and on and on...

For a film that's barely over ninety minutes long, it's awfully padded--the entire film was geared toward surprising you with that ending.

I'll be interested to know what you think if any of you do see it, of course. My opinion remains my own, as always.
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Post by David Austin » Tue Dec 25, 2001 5:13 pm

Remo - I'm surprised you haven't seen LOVE IS A DOG FROM HELL. It's pretty hard to find around here (I think VSoM has a copy, but don't trust them), and it hasn't seen an official release over here since Cineplex Odeon Films put it out back in `87. I'd recommend it to anybody who likes Bukowski and/or depressing movies. I have a copy, and I'll see what I can do to hook you up with one.



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