Iconic queercore filmmaker Bruce LaBruce is back with his latest film, The Misandrists. His first film since 2014’s Pierrot Lunaire — if you don’t count Ulrike’s Brain, the companion film to The Misandrists that premiered at the Berlin Film Festival the same week, that is. And, true to form with Bruce LaBruce, the film is explicit in both sex and violence, yet utterly gorgeous to watch.
The Misandrists, which debuted in Germany last year, is finally coming to American shores for Pride month. The film is, obviously, not everyone’s cup of tea, but if it’s yours, you’ll drink it down in a single gulp and ask for more.
The titular misandrists of the film are the Female Liberation Army, a radical feminist terrorist cell using a Home for Wayward Girls as a front. They quite literally hate men — many of the characters talk about how disgusting men are — and are planning to remake the world in their own image… via lesbian pornography.
However, when one of the young women discovers an injured man on the run for vandalizing the stock exchange, she secretly takes him in to tend to his wounds. (However, if you’re expecting a riff on The Beguiled, you’ll be surprised.)
The press release describes the film as “an experience that’s a blast to watch and just as much fun to dissect afterwards.” That’s a surprisingly apt description. Half arthouse, half action film and half porn — and, yes, that’s three halves, that’s just how this movie rolls — you’re sure to find something to enjoy and something to be repulsed by.
My take on the film is that it’s a response to the cries of “misandry!” from Men’s Rights activists and other anti-feminist groups. LaBruce seems to be saying “Oh, you think feminists all hate men and want to destroy them? Let me show you what that would really look like.” While the FLA are the definite protagonists of the film, LaBruce keeps you at an arm’s length from them. The viewer identifies with them — to some extent.
The Misandrists is a surprisingly hard movie to write about, precisely because it’s so packed full of ideas and twists. It’s the type of film that’s pressed into people’s hands by those who have seen it, imploring friends to watch it, so they’ll have someone to talk about the film with.
Consider it pressed into your hands now.