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March 2007


By Kam Williams


Voyeuristic Director Gives New Meaning to Screen Tests in Raw Sex Romp 
Distributor: IFC First Take
Director: Jean-Claude Brisseau
Producer: Milena Poylo, Giles Sacuto
Screenwriter:  Jean-Claude Brisseau
Cast: Frederic van den Driessche, Maroussia Dubreuill, Lise Bellynck, Marie Allan, Sophie Bonnet, Raphaele Godin, Margaret Zenou, Jeanne Cellard, Virginie Legeay
In French with subtitles 
Running time: 103 minutes



Francois (Frédéric Van Den Driessche), a film director about to make a picture which contains nudity, comes up with a voyeuristic variation on the proverbial casting couch. Instead of expecting his aspiring starlets to sleep with him, he decides to ask each applicant to get naked and masturbate during her screen test while he eggs them on to explore any kinky taboo which comes to their imagination, as long as it doesn’t involve his participation. 

 Afterall, he’s a happily-married man with a wife (Sophie Bonnet) who has warned him that watching naked ingénues satisfying themselves is likely to land him in a heap of trouble. So, Francois is intent on keeping it all very professional. This is easier said than done, since the scenes he’s having the applicants shoot during their tryouts involves the examination of the female climax, so he pressures them to achieve orgasm, at least if they  
really want a role in the movie. 

 This is the intriguing premise of Exterminating Angels, another envelope-pushing project from Jean-Claude Brisseau. In 2005, the controversial iconoclast was fined 15,000 Euros and received a suspended one-year sentence for sexually harassing a couple of actresses he had forced to play with their privates while auditioning for his previous picture, Secret Things. 

 So, Jean-Claude appears to be thumbing his nose at the authorities, here, by exploring essentially the same subject-matter, especially when in such a salacious and provocative manner. Be forewarned, the action gets rather autoerotic during this thinly-veiled excuse to watch attractive young women get themselves hot and bothered. The director eventually ups the ante and talks some of the extroverts in his ensemble of onanists into making love to each other. The result is some twosomes, a threesome, even a pleasure seeker eager to try a ménage a gang. Emotional complications do ensue, however, as feelings unexpectedly arise. But still, don’t be surprised if you forget about the principal plot as your eyeglasses fog up from the nearly non-stop carnality. 

The only question on your mind as you exit up the aisle is likely to be whether what you’ve just witnessed was pornography or a legit flick, given the fact that none of the sex seems simulated. So, is it real or is it Memorex? The elusive answer to this cinematic conundrum just might be the point of this jaw-dropping exercise in self-indulgence. 

Masturbation as method acting.