Anatomy of Hell

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Anatomy of Hell
Directed byCatherine Breillat
Produced byJean-François Lepetit
Screenplay byCatherine Breillat
Based onPornocratie
by Catherine Breillat
Narrated byCatherine Breillat
Edited byPascale Chavance
Distributed by
  • Rézo Films
  • Sharada Distribuzione
Release date
  • 23 January 2004 (2004-01-23) (Rotterdam)
  • 28 January 2004 (2004-01-28) (France)
Running time
77 minutes[1]
Box office$345,365[2]

Anatomy of Hell (French: Anatomie de l'enfer) is a 2004 French erotic drama film directed by Catherine Breillat and written by Breillat based on her 2001 novel Pornocratie. According to Breillat, Anatomy of Hell is a "sequel" to Romance.[3]


Teetering on the edge of overwhelming ennui, a lonely and dejected woman pays a gay man to join her for a daring, four-day exploration of sexuality in which both reject all convention and smash all boundaries while locked away from society in an isolated estate. Only when the man and woman confront the most unspeakable aspects of their sexuality will they have a pure understanding of how the sexes view one another.



The film was adapted by writer/director Breillat from her novel Pornocracy. The sexually explicit film stars Amira Casar as "the woman" and porn star Rocco Siffredi as "the man". Leonard Maltin summarizes: "After attempting suicide in the bathroom of a gay disco, a woman hires the man who rescues her to spend four nights in her company, challenging him to 'watch me where I'm unwatchable'."[4]


The film polarized critics. Leonard Maltin gave the film zero stars and said the film was "homophobic" and "unintentionally funny".[4] Roger Ebert stated: "I remember when hard-core first became commonplace, and there were discussions about what it would be like if a serious director ever made a porn movie. The answer, judging by Anatomy of Hell, is that the audience would decide they did not require such a serious director after all."[5]

BBC film critic Jamie Russell gave the film four stars out of five:

"The plot is hardcore thin: a woman (Amira Casar) cruises a gay club and pays broody stud (porn star Rocco Siffredi) to spend four nights with her. A challengingly explicit delve into the female body (often quite literally), it's a unique cinematic example of feminist existential porn.... Yet perversely, it's also one of the most groundbreaking films in recent memory in terms of both the explicitness of its sexuality and its commitment to such an austere intellectual discourse. No wonder Rocco looks so shell-shocked: this is sex not as comedy, but as the deepest, darkest male nightmare."[6]

The film went on to win "Best Feature Film" at the Philadelphia Film Festival.[7]

Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports a 26% rating based on 35 critics with an average rating of 3.6/10. The site's consensus states: "Ponderous, pretentious, and -- considering the subject matter -- dull."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a 29 out of 100 rating based on 19 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[9]


  1. ^ "ANATOMIE DE L'ENFER - ANATOMY OF HELL (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 4 November 2004. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  2. ^ "Anatomy of Hell (2004) - International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. 27 May 2005. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  3. ^ Spencer, Megan (1 January 2009). "A largely allegorical scenario positing that all men are inherently fearful of female sexuality". Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  4. ^ a b Maltin, Leonard. Leonard Maltin's 2009 Movie Guide, p. 41
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (11 November 2004). "Review of Anatomy of Hell". Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  6. ^ Russell, Jamie. BBC Movies review of Anatomy of Hell, BBC, 22 November 2004
  7. ^ Philadelphia Film Festival, Date: April 8 - April 21 2004
  8. ^ "Anatomy of Hell". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  9. ^ "Anatomy of Hell". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 13 July 2015.

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