FNC 2017: Les Predatrices (France, 2016)

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for Cinetalk.net

What happens when Nosferatu and Dracula meet David Lynch (circa Blue Velvet, 1986) and Brian De Palma (circa Sisters, 1972)? One might guess, creepy but aesthetically pleasing decor and characters exhibiting bizarre fetishes. In former porn actress Ovidie’s Les Predatrices, sisters of a particular sort turn to murder in exchange for some life-prolonging elixirs. Creepy Dracula-dude is only a bit part, but he is an essential component to the sisters’ lifestyle and livelihood.

Meanwhile, the only thing the siblings seem to do in their shared existence is look for gullible men for at-home indulgences. They are modern-day vampires, temptresses, murderesses, but the viewer is never told why exactly. An air of mystery lingers about their past and about why murder is the price for their elixirs. Curiously, Ovidie has created a female-empowerment film where women are still at the beck and call of this Dracula-like figure. The codependence is a contradiction. Or it may be social commentary about women never fully being independent. But should we care? This is, in the end, a porno.

Taken at face value as a piece of modern cinema, things flow with a scenario and character development. And then they don’t. Because in the history of porn, when have directors ever successfully created real character build-up and plot twists? Ovidie seems to be straddling this fine line between cinematic success and outright smut.

Porn with Plot, they say.

The sex is very, very hot. It is more graphic than most cheaply made straight-to-DVD porn produced for the male gaze, Ovidie has infused her female sensitivity, and created sex scenes where the male is subdued, almost effaced. The pleasure is by and for women. Whereas the ‘money shot’ in standard porn is always the male orgasm, here, it is party-time for the gals. To analyze from a critical cinephile’s perspective, the sex scenes are too long. We don’t need to see a b—job in 1000 licks, when 10 would do. However, from the porn-watcher’s angle, these drawn-out sequences are just about right.

There is almost no dialogue, and the sexual onslaught is about 85% of the film. Everyone likes a bit of titillation, but Les Predatrices won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. A small warning. Do not bring a date to the cinema. Or do, depending on the desired effect on date-night!

 

Les Predatrices screens at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema, Cinema du Parc at 9:10pm, October 13th, 2017.

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