Wednesday, April 16, 2008

undercover strippers! (but, like, in an arty way)

Nicole has a new 23-year-old French roommate named Boris, who wears blazers and jeans and likes meeting L.A. “hotties.” The first and only time I hung out with him, the three of us went to see Penelope, which I found to be a lovely, Tim Burton-esque feminist fairy tale, and which Boris gave a D-.

Nevertheless, Boris was kind enough to hook us up with passes to City of Lights, City of Angels, the Franco-American film festival running at the DGA this week. Last night Nicole, Jamie and I saw Female Agents, a World War II drama about four, well, female agents recruited for a secret mission in occupied France.

The plot is standard fare (evil Nazis and reluctant heroines who must occasionally go undercover as strippers), but, sacrebleu, what an intense movie! I haven’t seen enough French films to attribute its attributes to Frenchy-ness, but I nevertheless suspect that an American version of the same story would have had a few more explosions and chase scenes, and a few less deaths of main characters. Female Agents, on the other hand, opts for a steady canter that actually makes for far more intensity.

Afterward, I said, “Wow, that was intense. There was a lot of torture.” (Warning: Female Agents contains a lot of torture.)

“Really?” marveled Nicole, who had been lamenting, earlier, about how none of her friends liked horror movies. “I’ve seen way worse.”

“But when you have a medium amount of torture and a lot of good character development, it makes the torture harder to watch.”

So there you have it: If you want to see a solid World War II movie that puts a handful of beautiful, talented actresses through scenes that are wrenching yet not gratuitous (seriously—not even the undercover stripping scene, believe it or not, but maybe that’s just the power of vintage lingerie), and you want to find yourself pondering which of your friends would withstand torture to save you and which would sell you out, see Female Agents. It’ll be a rough night, but worth it.


Jesi said...

i always felt that if it came down to it, all my high school friends would sell me out. that's prolly why i'm no longer friends with any of them.

Cheryl said...

The weird thing is, some of the people who might be best in a torture situation might be the worst ones to hang out with on a day-to-day basis. I feel like toughness sometimes equals issues.

thelastnoel said...

This sounds like a great movie. Um, when you mean torture, do you mean like hacking off limbs? Or beatings and such. I can stand one but not the other--and I'm not telling which.

Cheryl said...

There's one pliers-to-a-finger scene that I had to cover my eyes for. Other than that it's mostly beatings and a bit of what we 21st century Americans refer to as "waterboarding." None of it is extremely graphic or torture-porny--I would say the movie is safe for the medium-sqeamish but not the most delicate flowers among us.

Prince Gomolvilas said...

What I really want to know is...what does Boris think?

Veronica said...

couldn't you just tell me you'd never give me up and i can do the same? you know i can't watch torture of developed characters.