DONT DELIVER US FROM EVIL
Dir. Joël Séria, 1971.
110 min. France.
In French with English subtitles
Really about the obsessive nature of female friendship, of girls suffering a tedious, square world filled with hypocrisy and becoming hopped up by literature and the forbidden and hellfire and all the stuff that's so intense when you're 15, [;;DONT DELIVER US FROM EVIL];; is a fiendish paean to the freaky bad girlgirls who, when staring into that bland void would rather, quite literally, burn out than fade away. -Kim Morgan, Sunset Gun
Special thanks to Pete Tombs and Mondo Macabro.
One of the great unhearalded works of early 70s youth rebellion, DONT DELIVER US FROM EVIL is about a pair of upper-class parochial school BFFs who swear themselves to Satan and set out, in their own seemingly innocent way, to inflict pain and cruelty on do-gooding idiots. Over the course of a summer, the two have neighboring country vacation homes, and when Anne, the instigator of the two, is left on her own, her place becomes a haven for all kinds of wickedness. In particular, the girls amuse themselves with sexual intimidation of their neighbor, restaging Christs Carrying of the Cross with a lame groundskeeper, holding a Satanic ceremony, and seducing a married man. When they return to school, they make the ultimate statement of contempt for middle-class values.
The film is as much about hiding under the covers with flashlights and dirty books and sneaking cigs and communion wine as it is figuring out where to hide a body. Its not difficult to imagine why the film never received US distribution: its not a lurid exploitation that could appeal to a grindhouse crowd, but its arthouse style and whimsy is rooted in too much anti-bourgeois perversion to appeal to sophisticated New Yorkers. (Though Amos Vogel does single it out in FILM AS A SUBVERSIVE ART.) Consider it a cross between Jean Eustache and Michael Haneke with a bit of Buñuel and Larry Clark thrown inbut one that seems uniquely attuned to its young, rebellious female protagonists. Its a true diamond-in-the-rough.
Rally your best friend and check it out: this is essential bad girl viewing.
Trigger warning: attempted sexual assault of a minor.
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