- Vassilis Kroustallis
A tale of human manipulation and inhuman practices. Nicolas Jacquet directs Weaker Sex.
Weaker Sex (Sexe faible) by French director Nicolas Jaquet (production: Joseph Productions) tells a very special, but familiar story. The film is based on the much-publicized Austrian Fritzl affair (April 2008) , when Elisabeth Fritzl told police that she had been held captive for 24 years by her father, Josef Fritzl, alternatively assaulted and raped.
Single man rents mature woman, 47 years old, blond, 5’6", 110 lbs., easygoing, open, calm, endearing, bold, thoughtful, loyal, with whom to spend quality time and company - Film Synopsis
Working with photos and digital cut-outs (2D digital cut-outs, ), Nicolas Jacquet (also author of Tueurs Français and Peau de Chien) won't escape the harsh realities of a woman in captivity, but he gives them a special twist. The body here (the instrument of abuse) is literally bent to function both as an instrument of voyeurism and abuse, but even as a sign of final liberation. Being penetrated becomes a sport and a small-to-mid-scale business endeavor, while food manners (a distant nod here to Svankmajer) try to tell that
The sexually charged work of both Hans Bellmer and Louise Bourgeois informs the visage and formation of the central female character, but equally important are the spaces she inhabits. Jacquet does not go for a claustrophobic feeling; action expands from the old-fashion decorated living room to country forest , and it gives an extended view of the French city of Laval surroundings - as if the whole city becomes silent before the abuse of the 'weaker sex'. This is a film that analytically registers human cruelty, with precise shot set-up, and without going for gore (but still intended for mature audiences). Not a cold-bloodied account (some blood at the end of the film shows otherwise), it shows - almost gracefully- how abuse is supplemented by a pervasive feeling of abandonment reserved for its 'weaker sex'. And this can simply tear the body apart.
Weaker Sex is distributed by Alter Ego Production. Watch the complete film on Arte.