An edited version of this was on VICE UK
“TIFU by letting my boyfriend finger me” is a reddit story that was flying around on twitter for a whole day putting everyone off their tea and vaginas. This story reminded me of the worst film I ever paid to see.
You know the girl in art class who put her tampon in a teacup and then spouted some wank about womanhood and repressed femininity and how this fucking tampon in a fucking teacup was a piece of fucking art about it? That girl grew up to be French film director Catherine Breillat. I’m talking ideologically, but in Anatomy of Hell Catherine Breillat literally puts an actual bloody tampon in an actual cup of water. And then makes an Italian pornstar called Rocco drink it. Let me explain what’s happening here:
The film (it is French) (obviously) opens with a dude-on-dude blowjob in a car park. This is to tell us that we are now in a gay club. Inside this gay club is a woman (Amira Casar) in a white t-shirt looking bitchy as all hell, leaning against a wall with a puss on like she should just go home and have a weak herbal tea or something. Instead, she and her PMS walk straight through the middle of the dance floor and deliberately bump into all the guys who are just there for a nice night out and maybe a blowjob in a carpark. She shoulders one guy (aforementioned penis-flaunter Rocco Siffredi) so hard that he follows her into the bathroom. She’s in there to slit her wrists in a tiled wipe-clean room, and he finds her bleeding all up on her skirt when he comes in to get his dick sucked, by her, because that’s all gay dudes want – to get sucked off by a woman in the toilets. (What? I didn’t write this.) He asks her why she slit her wrists in the surprisingly deserted nightclub toilet. She replies, bleeding but not all that profusely because she did it wrong, “Because I am a woman”. This is the first time while watching Anatomy of Hell that you think “Why am I watching Anatomy of Hell?” and if your answer is “because I work in a DVD shop and watch literally every movie that comes through these doors” then we are very similar idiots.
After they go get her singular wrist sewn up at the chemist and she blows him under street lamp as a thank you or something, she propositions him with a globule of jizz still trembling on her wet bottom lip. She says she will pay him good money to come over for the next four nights and just watch her when she is “unwatchable” ie. having her period all over the bed. Her reasoning here is that because he’s such a massive gay he will be able to drop truthbombs impartially, since he’s not busy trying to fuck her like all men. If he thinks vaginas are liars unlike men’s buttholes, he will just come out and say that. She’s essentially paying him to uncomfortably sit up in a chair all night that doesn’t even recline, while she sleeps and occasionally stares him out while airing her pubes. Fun party.
SPOILERS: No one ever mentions an actual cash amount, the Italian pornstar gets his dick out a lot, and when the four nights are over the woman leaves town and the man has some emotions on a cliff.
That feeling you get when you’re watching a movie like Alien or Aliens on a shitty screen in your room – like, not even a pro-retina one, I mean a screen where you can see every 8-bit pixel even though you can barely see the literal big picture – the one that makes you go “I wish I’d seen this at the cinema months ago instead of on this shitty screen.” Like you wish you could see more of what is happening? I did not have this feeling for Anatomy of Hell. There is a shot where the camera is so far up this lady’s junk that it must have been gaffered to her thighs. As she birthed a stone dildo and it flopped out onto the bedsheets I did not think “Boy howdy, I wish this was in HD”. I also did not have this feeling when the guy’s hard dick pulled out and a wave of period blood gushed over her lower butt area either. Gushed. With an angle, a trajectory. All I thought was: put a towel down, France. Put a dark-coloured towel down.
Anatomy of Hell has one good point. It is exactly 77 minutes long. Like a 250 page novel, I would say this is optimal, bladder-wise. But every one of these 77 minutes is about how men are afraid of and therefore hate women. They’re scared that when they have sex with them they will be sucked up inside their vaginas like that Bilquis scene in American Gods. I dunno, are they? I wasn’t scared of vaginas until I saw this film, and now I am. It makes having one awkward because I have to see it all the time, be in its general vicinity as I go about my daily life. I’m afraid I might sit on something at a weird angle and swallow a Swiss yoga ball. I’m also now very specifically afraid that one particular scene will play out in its entirety in my life: that some man I have invited into my bed will tiptoe to the bathroom cabinet, find a red lipstick from MAC that I’m probably really into and costs upwards of £13, tiptoe back to the bed with it and sit beside me. I’m afraid that he will then take the angle-poise lamp from beside the bed, pull it over and down towards my naked arse perilously close to the bedsheets. I’m afraid that while eschewing all rules with respect to fire hazards, he will then take this lipstick I like and draw up and around my anus. I’m afraid that he will lift my leg up like I’m livestock he’s checking for worms or whatever farmers like, and that he will continue the lipstick line from my anus in a loop, up and around my vagina and pubes. I am afraid he will return the lipstick to the bathroom cabinet and never mention he did this.
Anatomy of Hell made me this way.
Before this movie, a fanny was just a thing I pissed out of and the equipment I brought to the sex table. I didn’t really think about it. It’s not all that interesting. It was just a fanny. It still is, but just as a long grey-haired man in double denim will make my stomach flip like Bob in Twin Peaks, so will women talking about periods at me like it’s nothing, so will gross stories on reddit, and so will the sight of men sent out for tampons, suicidal in the Boots aisle, trying to decide between light and heavy flow. Anatomy of Hell is like the film equivalent of an overly comfortable houseguest rinsing out their mooncup and leaving it on your sink to dry, clotted rivulets of blood mixing with your toothpaste in the morning as you stare yourself down in the mirror.
Imagine getting stuck beside Catherine Breillat at a dinner party. Imagine.