Out and About
The Misandrists – Bruce LaBruce’s latest flick finally playing Toronto – Feb 1 to 3, 2019
In Bruce LaBruce’s incisive comedy, The Misandrists, a member of a radical feminist terrorist group takes pity on an injured male leftist on the run and hides him, threatening to disrupt the group’s mission from within. For those who know LaBruce, his films are as far from the mainstream as one can get. As is often the case with Canadian artists, their home country is sometimes the last to embrace their work. As LaBruce states, “The Misandrists is finally playing in Toronto after having played around the world.” Word of warning, don’t miss the limited screening, Feb 1 to 3 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Misandrist (noun) – a person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against men. The counterpart to a misogynist is a misandrist.
The Misandrists begins with Volker, a young man with an injured leg, stumbling through the forest, pursued by the police and their tracking dogs. When he emerges from the woods, he sees two young women, Isolde and Hilde, frolicking in a field not far from a large old country house. When the beautiful young Isolde realizes that the handsome young man is in trouble with the law, she convinces Hilde to help her hide him in the basement of the house, which happens to be a school for wayward girls.
Isolde forces Hilde to agree to keep the young man’s presence in the basement hidden from the rest of the household, especially from Big Mother, who runs the school, which is composed of twelve other females: four teachers and eight young women rescued from the streets. It is a lesbian separatist stronghold. Isolde secretly nurses Volker back to health, but does not let him know that the school for girls is also a front for a quasi-terrorist organization called the FLA – the Female Liberation Army – that is willing to go to any lengths to challenge the patriarchy.
Meanwhile, we are introduced to all the other girls and women of the house, discovering their backgrounds and their relationships with one another, their beliefs and womanifestos. Several of the members of this radical female tribe are harbouring secrets of their own, which are eventually revealed as the film moves towards its climax: the revelation of a new style of lesbian porn that is to be used as both propaganda tool and calling card for their new brand of female revolution. Blessed be the Goddess of all worlds that have not made me a man.
LaBruce seems to have matured with this feature film…at least that’s how it appears for the first few minutes. Then, wham, we’re hit in the face with what LaBruce is known for – shock!
From the opening pink font credits to the girls frolicking in the fields, and the boy pissing against a tree, this is LaBruce queerness. There are a few scenes that are definitely not for the squeamish or vanilla in nature. The “Aversion to Men Therapy” with two of the girls watching male porn, is a homage to LaBruce’s earlier graphic films, while later in the movie, the scene where the man is caught and “reassigned to align with female politics” is a graphic scene that may have some covering their eyes. Also, the “theatre scene” is strikingly unique in the way it’s presented as well.
There is quite of bit of hilarity to the film as well. Big Mother sniffing trees in the woods trying to catch a whiff of the man’s scent (see boy pissing against tree above). Some of the script lines offer laughs as well. “The best way to a man’s heart is through his chest”, and “Two cocks and a cop in the house at the same time is insurmountable”. As always LaBruce introduces terminology that makes one run to Wikipedia for definitions. What is Parthenogenesis? Pornotopia? …Porn without men.
The majority female, trans, and non-binary cast give great performances, including Big Mother (Susanne Sachbe), and Kembra Pfahler (Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black). From pepper spray to pornography, this is BlaB at his finest from the innocent beginning to the unforgettable ending!
The Misandrists is about a secret cell of feminist terrorists planning to liberate women, overthrow the patriarchy, and usher in a new female world order. Balancing sharp social commentary and salacious popcorn entertainment, iconic filmmaker Bruce LaBruce has created an experience that’s a blast to watch and just as much fun to dissect afterward.
The Misandrists screens Feb 1 to 3, 2019 at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox Theatre, 350 King Street West
Be sure to attend the official After Party on Saturday February 2nd, at Unlovable (1415 Dundas Street West).
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.