“One step above the sublime makes the ridiculous, and one step above the ridiculous makes the sublime again.”
The abovementioned describes the spectrum over which Jean-Claude Brisseau’s filmmaking hopscotches, and it’s the tension in that risk-taking that makes him essential—even (especially?) when he produces a frustration like The Exterminating Angels. François (Frederic van den Driessche), a middle-aged filmmaker, burrows into a vaguely defined new project that aims to excavate mysteries of intimacy: generally, the feminine sexual imagination; specifically, the female orgasm. Such a film being necessarily a collaboration, he begins an unusually rigorous audition process: actresses masturbate in front of him and, inhibition uncorked, encouraged by their director’s stoical receptivity, reveal intimate details of their sexual history.
Read the rest of Nick Pinkerton’s review of Jean-Claude Brisseau’s Exterminating Angels.