Date of review: 13 December 2013
It's been precisely 2 months since my last film review, but it's high time I did another one. I don't really feel qualified to give this film the review it deserves, but I'll do my best.
The film is called Female Perversions and is based on a book (which I've not read) called Female Perversions: The Temptations of Emma Bovary. Now you'd be forgiven for assuming the film is meant to be erotic with such a title, but despite the occasional nudity and a couple of sex scenes that's not what this film is about. It is in fact a psychological drama and a very good one at that.
An explanation for the title is given right at the start of the film, in which it states that a woman has a choice between fully exploring her sexuality, intellect and emotional capacity or else blindly conforming to a stereotype of femininity. The full quote is two paragraphs long and is attributed to the author of the book upon which the film is based.
The film's main protagonist is a well-respected solicitor who is committed to her work, yet suffers from significantly low self-esteem. She has a somewhat tumultuous relationship with her sister, a Ph.D student who suffers from kleptomania and soon finds herself in trouble with the law after she is caught shoplifting. Ultimately this only serves to widen the rift between them as each struggle with their own internal issues.
In addition to these two characters, the film does spend some time focusing on a lady who is obsessed with appearing feminine and who tries to encourage her androgynous 13-year old daughter to do the same. Her daughter is somewhat over-exposed to her mother's sexuality, which in turn appears to have an adverse effect on her emotional well-being.
It could be said that each character in this film is exploring femininity in her own way, ranging from the obsessively feminine mother at one extreme to her androgynous daughter at the other, with the remaining characters finding themselves somewhere in the middle. The film does have some uncomfortable scenes depicting self-mutilation, however these are few and far between.
One interesting aspect of the film is that, during the first hour or so, we occasionally see messages in the background which expand on the author's definition of what exactly constitutes a "female perversion". These are found on items of scenery such as signs and park benches. Far from detracting from the immersion of the film, I felt they served to further provoke the viewer's thoughts and therefore enhanced the overall experience.
Finally I will say that this film has an excellent soundtrack that builds up a nice atmosphere and sets the mood well for the different scenes. In conclusion if you're looking for a film which is immersive and thought-provoking then this one is definitely a film to watch.
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