The history of BAISE-MOI by VIRGINIE DESPENTES, author and co-director
In 1995, I sold the film rights to my novel BAISE-MOI to Philippe Godeau, who suggested that I direct the film myself. The project was set in motion: the problem was finding two actresses to play Nadine and Manu, the heroines.
In 1999, I saw EXHIBITIONS 1999, (John B. Root), a docu-drama featuring interviews with ten French porn actresses. Karen and Raffaela stuck me immediately as the only choices for Nadine and Manu.
Coralie and I quickly wrote an adaptation which remained entirely true to the novel. Then met Karen and Raffaela, who were seduced by the project.
I proposed to Coralie that she co-direct the film as she and I shared the vision of a feminist battle, an avant garde battle, as well as certain fondness for provocation.
BAISE-MOI is a brutal book, a troubled book. Nadine and Manu aren't "bad girls", they simply want to live, truly live, whatever it takes. An unfortunate combination of circumstances is all it takes to push them across the boundary between good and evil, the possible and the impossible. Music,violence, sex, the road, humour: it's all adrenalin, a sure way to avoid the worst fate of all: obedience, submission, renunciation of the self -boredom.
They are outlaws. No excuses, no explanations, no intellectualization. They are close to us, because they are beyond judgement. Sensation, not thought.
When they fuck, they let themselves go, they feel alive. They don't ask why, they don't think about what will happen next. While it's happening, it feels good; they don't think about anything else: they are set free. To film the sex scenes "for real", without stand-ins, was vital, as this was the first time that women being fucked would be shown, but also a lot more than that. Time to finish with fragmentation. These scenes had to be real, to do that. Time to return their complete bodies to women, of which they have always been deprived.
To reclaim women's rights over their true sexuality, to seize it back from the male gaze. It's always men who have a problem with a woman's sex: that's their problem, not ours.
It was vital that the film should remain faithful to the spirit of the book. A blood-soaked road movie, but human, without artifice. We had to get to the heart of things, to places normally avoided. We wanted to dig deep, in order to end up right inside.