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1,049 Ratings

Anatomy of Hell

Anatomie de l'enfer

Directed by Catherine Breillat
France, Portugal, 2004
Drama, Avant-Garde, LGBTQ+
  • French
  • English


Adapted from Breillat’s novel “Pornocracy”, Anatomy of Hell follows a woman (Amira Casar) who meets a man (Rocco Siffredi) in a gay disco and hires him for four consecutive nights, asking him to “watch me where I am unwatchable.”

Our take

Alert: Not for the faint-of-heart! Breillat approaches sex in ways no (male) filmmaker has ever done. Her unwavering exploration of femininity peaks in this loose sequel to Romance. Here she fearlessly blurs the line between porn and art—and casting porn legend Siffredi is just the beginning.

Anatomy of Hell Directed by Catherine Breillat
The minimal décor (and its crucifixes, its harsh lights), the Melvillian color palette, the way Casar lies on her bed like an Edward Hopper subject: the film is less painterly than painted, with a dankness showing through the white matte of the domestic interior—a visual reminder, like the striped and textured background of a Francis Bacon canvas, of something fundamentally grim.
January 26, 2017
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The surprise is that Siffredi’s character is ultimately more vulnerable than the woman, because while she knows exactly what to expect from him, he’s susceptible to her in ways he never could have predicted. Siffredi’s performance is lovely, partly because of the languid expressiveness of his slightly droopy eyes. He’s such a securely masculine presence that he doesn’t need any phony macho affectations.
October 16, 2004
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The most original and perhaps the most disturbing thing about Breillat’s poetic treatise on gynephobia is its unique juxtaposition of the cerebral and the visceral. This is a most radical exercise in erotic body horror—and, pace David Cronenberg, it may be the mode’s ultimate example.
October 13, 2004
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