Movie Review: “The Misandrists” looks for laughs among lesbian leftists in Deutschland

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Gott in himmel, vas ist los?

A gay German “Beguiled” spoof built on comically over-the-top womynist/leftist revolutionary rhetoric?

Oh, it’s from Bruce LaBruce, Ontario’s boundary-bending icon of the queer cinema. He’s made movies about a young into MUCH older men (in a nursing home) — “Gerontophilia” — and gay Goth zombie love (“Otto; or Up with Dead People.”

So over the top? Yeah.

“The Misandrists” is about a remote revolutionary indoctrination camp for the Feminist Liberation Army, German (mostly) lesbians training for a world without men, which takes in an injured young male revolutionary (Til Schindler) on the run from the authorities.

Big Mother (Susanne Sachße, a mainstay of LaBruce movies such as “The Raspberry Reich) doesn’t know about him. Nor do any of her “sisters,” the teachers at this “boarding school.”

Only Hilde (Olivia Kundisch) and Isolde (Kita Updike) do. They hide him in the basement, where Isolde takes to nursing young Volker.

The “school” is a hotbed of encouraged coupling, re-coupling and quasi-comic sexuality, all masterminded by the leather-clad, cane-walking Big Mother. 

“I can’t help if it’s kinky!”

They gather for group meals, sing womynist hymns — “Glory be to the Mother, and to the daughter.”

They give thanks for their gender — “Blessed be the Goddess of All Worlds that has not made me a man!”

They watch gay porn — “I don’t NEED to watch gay porn to be disgusted by men!”

And they plan the Revolution, women plotting a world without men.

Meanwhile, there’s all this flirting and nearly-nude pillow-fighting going on, with only Isolde opting out.

“Of course I like you…as a COMRADE.”

LaBruce toys with stereotypes, softcore porn tropes and ever-so-arch reminiscences of the Golden Age of German Leftist militancy. And who knew you could make “The Beguiled” more gay?

As the quoted lines above demonstrate, he’s got a way with canny, cutting and campy dialogue.

What he doesn’t manage well is comedy in general. The vamping isn’t in the “Rocky Horror” range, the camp characters are never campy enough to be funny. The one-liners just kind of lie there. The movie’s many make-out scenes do what they do in most exploitation films, they stop the movie cold.

And when he takes the story into his spin on a “Beguiled” revenge resolution, he crosses the last few lines available to him, and then anti-climaxes his way to the credits as if he ran out of money or ideas or both.

But he may know his audience, and he may have a point (sort of) when he excuses himself from criticism by having a character voice this apologia.

“There’s no point in trying to explain the right thing to the wrong people.”

1half-star

MPAA Rating: unrated, graphic surgery, explicit sexual content, nudity

Cast: Susanne Sachße, Kita Updike, Viva Ruiz, Til Schindler, Olivia Kundisch, Victoire Laly

Credits:Written and directed by Bruce LaBruce. A Cartilage release.

Running time: 1:31

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