A gay man wrote a film about my wildest fantasy. How queer is that.
The Misandrists doesn’t lack nudity and lesbian power sex. Still, this is not the fantasy I am talking about.
For ten days I played the character of Editha in BruceLaBruce’s recent film about radical feminists in the year of 1999. The story revolves around a group of young women who plot to not only overrule patriarchy, but to make men eternally obsolete as a species. Editha and her camrades are living in a boot camp for the biologically female brain, being schooled in “2nd Wave Feminism gone haywire”. For ten days I got to live this education through her. I got to feed her discarded pain with elaborate solutions on how to replace swollen eyes from crying, with swollen labia from (lesbian) fucking. But most enoyable of all – I could freely express hateful thoughts about men. No questions asked. No objections.
Sam, Bliss, Me and Jorge. First day of shooting ”The Misandrists” – Photo: Jackie Baier
The manuscript is more likely written to criticize the separatist ideology, rather than to preach it. Not just separatism between men and women, but the isolation of ideas in the search of a ”pure” ideology. The film is constructing ellaborated propaganda of a feminist theory to the point that it reaches radical ridicule. It is indeed a comedy in the sense that you laugh from the plot. It is obviously a satire. At the same time, I can’t help taking this film seriously.
Me as Editha. In class, with notes of a hairy pussy. In the background from the left: Kita, Victoire and Olivia – Photo: Jackie Baier
Satire is dirty. It plays out your secret desires of politically incorrect goodies, like revenge and educational violence. Daydreaming material that make you feel good, but you know it is all probably very wrong. If the dirty dreams are played out by characters on film, the viewer might be able to free herself from the restriction of self-censorship and start to think beyond the dream. If we secretly daydream about feminist fascism (as you might call the methods used within the camp), the guilt from dreaming it might keep us from daring to think about feminism all together. To hide your radical feminism, you might even go so far as acting anti-feminist in any way you can. This is how I value satire, as a door opener for closeted feminists. It is also why this film is impressive to me to be part of. That, and of course the fact that the film passes the Bechdel test already on the first page of the script.
I was more than thrilled to find the script full of colourful feminist propaganda. There are monologues stretching far longer than you would expect anyone to memorize, about the empowerment of menstruation or the natural arguments about the uselessness of man. The script is not a montage over a few radical feminist actions, but it carefully recaptures a full class hour of the potentials of parthenogenesis. After reading the script the first time, I felt I could put aside a great deal of my own aggressions towards the men who wronged me. My most secret dream of a fight for ultimate revenge and freedom for female people is captured on film and acknowledged forever. Nobody can deny Editha to rant about cutting off dicks while I am ready to embrace the continous waves of feminism, one more brilliant and evolved than the other.
I am dressed in a maroon school girl uniform, the one same dress, every day. Sometimes I take it off in front of the camera. Sometimes I wear my friend’s socks instead of mine, because it is impossible to keep the white knee socks white and there are no extra pairs. We live as the characters would live – as underestimated females on the brink of poverty because we refuse to follow any rule that could be beneficial for a man. Capitalism being one of them. I must say, it was overall one of the most confusing and liberating ten days of my adult life.
BruceLaBruce uses in the film the worn out image of women in underwear having a pillow fight. Any other filmmaker could have gone with a clean fight between sexually muted girls. Young bodies balancing carfeully as a flock of ducks on ice, to sometimes fall into positions allowing the most accidentally nipples possible. All looking the same. All as clueless about the men jerking off to them, as the ducks would be about the pillows’ feathers being plucked from their dead friends.
In this film, even if it is traditionally shot in slow motion, the image is different. The wallpaper in the room where we stand is a huge print of naked female bodies shooting up from the face of the moon. The glue from the temporary moon backdrop has not yet dried, and is literally poisonous to breathe. It is by far one of the most challenging scenes in the film. The feathers get in everywhere, including your throat. With these characters, you can also imagine how the fight really is a fight. Not a gentle bumping against each other with a fluffy shield. This scene left us breathless and bruised. When I peek over the shoulder of BruceLaBruce to capture a glimpse of the monitor, I see a beautifully dark imagery. It rather reminds me of Andres Serrano’s ”Piss Christ”. I get inspired to view our pillow fighting scene as a story of a lost desire that was taken away from us and exploited by a misogynist system. Then, reclaimed when re-united with the sinful body of its worshipper. Filled again with life, character and joyful pain.
BEHIND THE SCENES I – I haven’t acted since I was in my early twenties. Now I was suddenly expected to perform in front of legendary primadonna punks, natural wunderkinder and charismatic stars like Susanne Sachsse. I don’t know if all this pressure made me suddenly regress to a teenager, but right out of the blue I found myself in a mercyless tornado of adolescent infatuation for Susanne. I don’t think I was able to say one decent sentence to her off camera. I am not sure if I even got it together when the camera was rolling and I had to deliver lines to her. All I remember is an embarrasingly obvious blushing of cheeks, and at the same time the desire to just stay giggling in front of those eyes forever.
BEHIND THE SCENES II - We worked thirteen hours a day as an average, and 75% of this time we froze our senses off. It is exhausting to spend a whole day focusing on performing something that is not you, most of the time talking to someone who is not even there (you mostly deliver your lines to a piece of green tape on the camera lense). When I finally crashed into bed, I was therefore impressed and also a bit surprised to find that the girls I shared my room with were frequently masturbating themselves to sleep. Respect!
BEHIND THE SCENES III - I promised I would never talk about the incident with the egg, or the virgin sex act that followed.
Lo-Fi Cherry is an independent porn producer and occasional erotic performer living in Berlin. Her label Lo-Fi Cherry Porno Pics aims to embody feminist strategies through surrealism and porn, most visible in her work on “feministing” tentacle porn.