Exterminating Angels Reviews

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Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ March 11, 2007
[font=Century Gothic]In "Exterminating Angels", a film director, Francois(Frederic van den Driessche), decides that following an actress' bad experience involving a sex scene on his previous film, that he will make his next about female sexuality. Since there are sex scenes involved, his screen test will involve two parts, the first of which involves an actress masturbating on camera, but he has a hard time getting any woman to participate until he meets Julie(Lise Bellynck) in a neighborhood bar.[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]"Exterminating Angels" is a seuxally explicit and thought-provoking movie that is not about sex per se. In reality, it is about no matter how casual or temporary a relationship is, be it a one night stand or making a film, there is always going to be a residual emotional connection. And sometimes people cannot help being hurt.[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]However clear-sighted director Jean-Claude Brisseau may be about other facets of his movie, the character of the director still leaves something to be desired. Francois is staightforward and gentlemanly towards the actresses and complimented by them for being a good listener but if his sole purpose was to learn about female sexuality, then why not just hand his wife a 20-page questionnaire or simply listen to her?[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]The angels and dead grandmother almost push the movie into David Lynch and Wim Wenders territory. They were not necessary and even a little pretentious.[/font]
April 25, 2008
This is yet another French film that uses explicit sexuality to push the envelope of what is considered taboo and what is acceptable in mainstream cinema.

A director is watched over by fallen angels who seem intent on sending him on a self-destructive path, influencing him towards more and more explicit material for his new film project.

Worth a rental if you don't mind the overt sexuality, but has some pretentious moments for sure.
April 4, 2014
Les Anges Exterminateurs (Exterminating Angels) (Jean-Claude Brisseau, 2006)

I had entirely forgotten, until something on the IMDB boards nudged my memory, that I had watched-and not been entirely thrilled with-one of Jean-Claude Brisseau's earlier pictures, Choses Secrétes, back in 2008. There is a great deal of conjecture on the IMDB message boards that Les Anges Exterminateurs is Brisseau's response to charges of harassment filed against him during the making of that film. (I also saw allegations that similar charges were filed against him during the making of this one, but found no verification for this.) While my research, ragtag as it was, was able to neither confirm nor deny any of this, it can't be denied that this movie feels autobiographical, but then you have to take into account that any film a filmmaker makes about a filmmaker making a film is going to feel autobiographical, especially when the filmmaker in the film is making the kind of film the real-life filmmaker makes. Now, go back and try to say all that five times fast. In one breath.

Plot: a director, François (A Tale of Winter's Frédéric van den Dreissche), sets out to make a new film. (We think, anyway.) He begins interviewing actresses and, in these interviews, pushes them farther and farther erotically. Is he really interested, as he tells them, in pushing the boundaries of the erotic, or is he just getting a thrill from watching them play with themselves (and, sometimes, each other)? Eventually, he starts focusing on two of the women, Charlotte (Au milieu de la Nuit's Maroussia Dubreuil) and Julie (The Girl from Nowhere's Lisa Bellynck). But then... what does his wife (Saint-Jacques...La Mecque's Marie Allan) think about all this?

It continues to amaze me that people can make porn films-or, in this case, films that border on porn without ever quite getting there-and still manage to have the final product be a bore. It would be easy (and accurate, judging by lor_'s review of the film on IMDB, which includes information from a director Q&A confirming the sexual harassment/response allegation) to pass that off as the innate inferiority of memoir, and looking back most porn-like substances I've come across that have bored me to tears have been of that variety. (100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed, anyone?) But there's an added level of pretentiousness here that also applies; I'm not sure whether I should be applauding Brisseau for having had the hubris to use a trope from Orphée or to backhand him, like so many other reviewers have done, for the shameless rip-off. The answer may lie in the question; would anyone but the greatest purist be taking him to task for attempting it if he's actually pulled it off? Taking a tangent from there, arthouse porn is still porn (if you're more ashcan than academic, you may want to look at this from the perspective that arthouse porn is still arthouse; either squinty-eyed view of this crossover is equally valid). While I would never claim to be an authority on the subject, it has always seemed to me that attempts to make arthouse porn are by default attsmpts to legitimize pornography as an artistic medium (think Winterbottom's 9 Songs here). There should be some argument about whether such legitimization is needed, even if that argument is fading the farther we get away from the days when the "film" half of the "adult film" genre was just as important. But the legitimizing aspect here has a much darker background given the film's memoir qualities; it can be argued that Brisseau is not attempting to legitimize the pornier aspects of his film as much as he is attempting to legitimize the sexual harassment that spawned the script for this movie. My relatively high rating for the movie, which stems entirely from my appreciation of gratuitous nudity on a movie screen, should tell you that I am at least attempting to give Brisseau the benefit of the doubt here, and my conclusion that any attempts to legitimize sexual harassment to be found here were unconscious on Brisseau's part. If I ever find out that is not the case, I'll be revising the rating on this to zero. **
November 6, 2013
i want to see it. . .
May 31, 2013
worth a wank or two.
½ December 23, 2012
I am an avid foreign film watcher, although preferably French films as I understand the language and don't have to labor through subtitles. I've watched this movie 3 times in an effort to find something redeemable about it. From having no clue why these angels are intent on destroying him, which angels are self-admittedly, in the beginning of the movie, not angels but fallen souls who are condemned to obey, and what the bizarre male's voice is that appears throughout the movie mumbling sentences repeatedly that make no sense whatsoever, there is never an explanation for. Aside from it being a horrible attempt to merge soft core lesbian porn with a dark lesson, which is fails miserably to do on any level, even the sex is boring, mechanical and not even interesting to watch. Most French films are multi-layered stories that are able to merge themselves into a cohesive plot. even if not until the very last second, this movie is a waste of film and the time you extend watching it. It's not even worth watching if you have cable and there's nothing else to do. It's beyond bad, it's mundane, pedantic and boring. There's not one redeeming thing about it. Even the actresses look like they're bored stiff and just waiting for the day to end so they can cash their per diem checks and take a nap.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ March 11, 2007
[font=Century Gothic]In "Exterminating Angels", a film director, Francois(Frederic van den Driessche), decides that following an actress' bad experience involving a sex scene on his previous film, that he will make his next about female sexuality. Since there are sex scenes involved, his screen test will involve two parts, the first of which involves an actress masturbating on camera, but he has a hard time getting any woman to participate until he meets Julie(Lise Bellynck) in a neighborhood bar.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Exterminating Angels" is a seuxally explicit and thought-provoking movie that is not about sex per se. In reality, it is about no matter how casual or temporary a relationship is, be it a one night stand or making a film, there is always going to be a residual emotional connection. And sometimes people cannot help being hurt.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]However clear-sighted director Jean-Claude Brisseau may be about other facets of his movie, the character of the director still leaves something to be desired. Francois is staightforward and gentlemanly towards the actresses and complimented by them for being a good listener but if his sole purpose was to learn about female sexuality, then why not just hand his wife a 20-page questionnaire or simply listen to her?[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]The angels and dead grandmother almost push the movie into David Lynch and Wim Wenders territory. They were not necessary and even a little pretentious.[/font]
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