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Exterminating Angels

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In Jean-Claude Brisseau's self-reflexive film, arty filmmaker François (Frédéric van den Driessche) holds auditions for his latest work -- a treatise on repressed female desire. So we watch as he watches young actresses not just talk about their sexual fantasies and taboos, but also strip naked and pleasure themselves and each other. The themes -- camera-as-voyeur, female sexuality vis-à-vis male desire, sex screws up stuff -- are, in 2007, pretty hoary. Even the lengthy girl-on-girl-on-girl scenes feel fusty. The Red Shoes Diary-via-the-arthouse plot is spiked by scenes with the titular characters, two ill-defined broody angels (they appear to have flown out of a Robert Palmer video) who pull the strings on François' actions (throughout, François is a victim, undone by women.) Yet the film's characters and critical subplots are poorly developed, and the widely telegraphed "extermination" is more shocking in its inexplicable abruptness than any taboo behavior we've had to endure. In French, with subtitles. Starts Fri., April 27. Squirrel Hill

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