Review: The Misandrists

the misandrists

Canadian filmmaker Bruce LaBruce’s film, The Misandrists is a tongue-in-cheek ode to the feminist movement and queer cinema. Set ‘somewhere in Ger(wo)many’, the film centres on a group of girls known as the Female Liberation Army. They have been recruited by a woman who goes by the name of Big Mother, and are being trained to overthrow patriarchy and abolish men all together.

The story begins when two girls, Isolde and Hilda, stumble upon an injured soldier whilst frolicking in the German countryside, and decide to disobey the strict no-men-beyond-this-point rule set in stone by Big Mother. They hide him in the basement and promise to nurse him back to health. When Hilde grows tired of being rejected by Isolde, she breaks the code of silence and reveals their secret to another girl. We later learn that there are a lot more truths to be discovered under this roof, some of which challenge the very essence of what people define as ‘female’.

The acting in this film is purposefully below par, an essential aspect of LaBruce’s cinema, which adds a comic, trashy element of charm to the movie. The girls are striking and amazing to look at, adorned with piercings and eccentric makeup teamed with stereotypically ‘sexy’ schoolgirl outfits. LaBruce’s portrayal of second-wave feminism is witty and unique, and we watch as the girls sit in their HERstory class (instead of History), and as Big Mother lectures the girls on her (wo)manifesto, inspiring laughs with lines like “who could that be at this ungoddessly hour?”.

The FLA use lesbian porn as a form of female propaganda, and these scenes are shot in red lights evoking the style of the 70’s and ‘80s European music video/pornography scene. The storyline, in the end, is anticlimactic and less than inspiring, but the cinematography and the aesthetics are worth admiring. As a narrative, though, don’t go in expecting too much. However, if you’re looking for a clever and fun look at radical feminism, this is definitely worth a watch!

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