REVENGE: THE MOST PROVOCATIVE FEMINIST HORROR FILM OF 2018

By combining French arthouse storytelling with American exploitation, Coralie Fargeat uses the language of horror cinema to convey ideas that were specific to women.

By Balthazar Malevolent

REVENGE: THE MOST PROVOCATIVE FEMINIST HORROR FILM OF 2018

Revenge, a 2017 French rape-and-revenge action horror film written and directed by Coralie Fargeat, and starring Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, despite its disarmingly unimaginative title is the action film that is bitingly smart, unpologetically provocative, and a true example of feminist cinema in the 21st century.

Revenge 2017 directed by Coralie Fargeat starring Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz.

We see Jen, our heroine (played by Matilda Lutz) prancing around in short shorts and crop tops, sucking on a lollipop suggestively. Her husband, Richard, a square-jawed yuppie cheating on his wife, took Jen to his secluded home in the desert, thirsty for some time alone. Although, his two friends, who arrive early for the hunting trip they'd been planning, rudely interrupt their getaway.

A hunt will be performed soon enough but not in the manner expected by either of the characters. Jen dances with Stan, the most disgustingly grotesque of Richard's two friends, after a night of heavy drinking and partying. Stan sees Jen's transparency as an invitation, using the same argument that we've seen some of our own ministers sput out. When Richard gets away on an errand the next morning Stan rapes Jen.

Richard is aghast about what happened at first. But right away it's obvious he's not as good as he seems. He starts scolding Stan, and Dimitri, the third friend who looked the other way when he heard Jen's screams — nearly as a mother does when her baby drops an expensive vase when she turns around. He decides Jen's return to the city could create certain difficulties for him, an important businessman. So he drags her down to a cliff along with the two monsters and pushes her over the edge.

Revenge 2017 directed by Coralie Fargeat starring Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz.

They watch Jen being impaled by a dead tree stump, and are convinced that no one was able to survive the fall, then they are back. Jen eventually survives, she is in one of the most skin-crawlingly painful sequences you will see this year, she pries herself off the stump and crawls into a cave, where she performs graphical surgery on herself and emerges, literally, like a phoenix. And then, by breaching them, she tracks down the men who betrayed her — with bullets and knives and pure brute force.

Revenge has a lot of symbolism and a lot of it is very much on the nose.

First-time feature film director Coralie Fargeat knows what she's doing and she's got to pull you in, to prove her case. She has to confuse you like a magician and when she has your attention where she wants it, that's when she's making her revelation. This 180-degree turn of style is helped by a blindsiding change of the viewpoint — the film starts as a sick portrayal of the male gaze — Jen is very much an object in those early scenes, only waiting to be devoured, but by the end, transforms into a snapshot of the world through female eyes — always on the brink, burning with rage and always the underdog.

What Fargeat has done in Revenge is similar to what Julia Ducournau did with her "Raw" cannibal feminist film last year. By combining French arthouse storytelling with American exploitation, both directors used the language of horror cinema to convey ideas that were specific to women.

They would surely make a rough double bill, but these are the movies intended for experienced horror fans, not casual passers-by.

Revenge 2017 directed by Coralie Fargeat starring Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz.

Apart from the achievements in their main industry, most fashion designers are famous for their roles in cinema. Alexander Wang is well-known for his work with The Fashion Fund. Established by legendary Anna Wintour, The Fashion Fund is a documentary-style TV show showcasing behind-the-scenes action for emerging designers from the American Council of Fashion Designers and the Vogue Competition.

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