Anatomy of Hell (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

Anatomy of Hell (2004)



Critic Consensus: Ponderous, pretentious, and -- considering the subject matter -- dull.

Anatomy of Hell Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

A lonely and dejected woman (Amira Casar) learns that only when all inhibitions are cast aside will she be able to truly understand the truth about how men see women in this erotically charged exploration of sexuality from controversial director Catherine Breillat. Teetering on the edge of overwhelming ennui, the woman pays a man (Rocco Siffredi) to join her for a daring, four-day exploration of sexuality in which both reject all convention and smash all boundaries while locked away from society in an isolated estate. Only when the man and woman confront the most unspeakable aspects of their sexuality will they have a pure understanding of how the sexes view one another.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Catherine Breillat
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 25, 2005
Tartan Films - Official Site

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Amira Casar
as The Girl
Alexandre Belin
as Wasteland Lover
Manuel Taglang
as Wasteland Lover
Claudio Carvalho
as Boy with Bird
Carolina Lopes
as Young Girl
Diego Rodrigues
as Boy Playing Doctor
P. Joćo Marques
as Boy Playing Doctor
Bruno Fernandes
as Boy Playing Doctor
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Anatomy of Hell

Critic Reviews for Anatomy of Hell

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (18)

The movie strongly suggests that to be gay is to be a misogynist, that all men wish to do violence to women and that being female is the same as being miserable.

Full Review… | November 12, 2004
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Forget the Anatomy, this is just plain Hell.

Full Review… | November 12, 2004
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Plays like porn dubbed by bitter deconstructionist theoreticians.

Full Review… | November 12, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

A ponderous but very, very explicit exploration of gender roles and fears that frequently seems like a parody of the genre.

Full Review… | November 11, 2004
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Ultimately less reminiscent of similarly themed efforts like Last Tango in Paris than of an explicit health education training film.

November 4, 2004
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

No one takes the fun out of sex like Catherine Breillat.

Full Review… | November 3, 2004
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Anatomy of Hell

Awfully, sickening as it's shocking of two strangers explore the boundaries of sex and bad taste in this explicit and unseemly French import.

Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic]In "Anatomy of Hell", a heterosexual woman(Amira Casar) begins slitting her wrists in a nightclub bathroom when she is interrupted by a gay man(Rocco Siffredi). He escorts her to a clinic where she is patched up. They become acquainted and she invites him back to her place to view her in all her intimate glory. He is less than thrilled with the proposition until she offers to handsomely recompense him. He agrees to the offer.[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]"Anatomy of Hell' is not a bad idea for a movie. For example, it is always a good thing when men and women exchange sexual information about their respective genders.(I learned a good deal about sex from my women friends in college.) But the movie wallows in pretentiousness and neither performer were apparently cast because of their acting ability. Catherine Breillat had already covered similar territory in the superior "Brief Crossing." I did think the tampon scene was informative, though. [/font]
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Walter M.

Super Reviewer

A woman (Amira Casar) is discovered by a man (Rocco Siffredi) cutting her wrists in the restroom of a gay bar. After he takes her to a clinic to get her self-inflicted wounds taken care of, she expresses her opinion that men hold a great fear and hatred of female sexuality. She wishes to explore this matter. She tells the stranger that she is willing to pay him to watch her during her most private moments. There is no need to touch her; he only has to observe. If he likes what he sees, he is welcome to join her in bed.

Based on the novel and screenplay by Catherine Breillat, "Anatomie de l'enfer" is not an easy film to digest given some of its undercurrents, like hatred of men and male homosexuals, as well as sexual images that really push the boundary between art and pornography so it is a bit of a surprise to me that I was able to stick with it.

Perhaps it is because, to me, its thesis is clear: the woman of interest considers gay males as being a part of an elite brotherhood that detests women, thereby only engaging with other males sexually-what they consider to be their equal-and so she takes the man through a sort-of experiment where she can "prove" that a woman's sexuality is so powerful, it can turn male fear or resentment, homosexual or heterosexual, toward women into something positive.

The picture is anything but conventional. The two characters do not even have names. They are as detached from one another as we are to them. Despite this, there are plenty of contrasting elements worth looking into. For instance, although penis, vagina, breasts, and anus are shown generously on screen, I did not find them erotic. These body parts are often accompanied by images that can be considered disgusting or disturbing. The way a gardening tool is used quickly comes to mind. Even more shocking is the woman's reaction to it. Another example involves the disparity between the seemingly rich ideas inside the woman's mind and the sparseness of her cottage house. It can be interpreted that although her thoughts are aplenty, they hold very little meaning.

At times the material attempts to reach at anything in the dark. About halfway through, it is mentioned that an ocean is both a male and female image but its elucidation is more confusing than thought-provoking. When this sort of thing happens, which occurs more than half a dozen times, it feels like the screenplay is trying too hard to come off as meaningful. There is a self-consciousness in the bold script.

Most importantly, I did not buy into the man's newfound feelings toward the woman. What he considers to be a profound realization in terms of his relationship with women (or just the woman he spent bizarre four nights with), I interpreted as trauma. I was neither moved intellectually or emotionally nor did I feel like it was a worthwhile experience as art or pornography. Although it is propelled by extreme elements on outside, "Anatomy of Hell" seems to just coast among them.

Anatomy of Hell Quotes

– Submitted by Paul N (4 years ago)

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