Jean-Claude Brisseau – À l’aventure (2009)


A sexually unfulfilled young woman embarks on a series of graphic erotic encounters and becomes involved with a student of psychoanalysis who offers to put her under hypnosis. Yes, the notorious Jean-Claude Brisseau, director of The Exterminating Angels and Secret Things, is back with his latest provocation. Another idiosyncratic philosophical meditation on the enigmas of female sexuality, it features the director’s latest discovery, Carole Brana. Pretentious smut for high-brows, a dirty old man’s fantasies writ large, or a profound and daring exploration of society’s sexual taboos? You decide.


Brisseau goes heavy on the theory, speaking almost strictly in wandering existential tirades and cryptic dreams, but the filmmaking is more sweeping than contemplative. There’s also a certain confessional nature to the film, but I nevertheless found myself distanced from everything that occurred. Brisseau has remarked that À l’aventure is the most personal film he’s ever made and, perhaps expectedly, there’s a sense that the filmmaker got much more out of this process than the viewer possibly could.

That isn’t to say that Brisseau’s lusty abstraction isn’t enticing and even, at moments, fascinating. Hypnosis-driven orgies and female masturbation abound, Brisseau ultimately climaxes with a literal out-of-body experience, an orgasm that, quite literally, tears the room apart. Is it all just pornography as art? I don’t think so, but it certainly isn’t The Girlfriend Experience. The performers, all admirably unrestrained and willing, are the buzzing, kinetic synapses in Brisseau’s head which leads us invariably to wonder how much of this world that the director has created is real. The answer doesn’t really matter because not even the film can come to any conclusions; it just leaps to another plane of existence.
Excerpt from Chris Cabin at FilmCritic


no pass

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