Arturo Ripstein’s ‘Devil Between the Legs’, screened at IFFI, deals subversively with sex and jealously and aging

Posted on December 12, 2019


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In 1975, when Chantal Akerman came out with Jeanne Dielman 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, some viewers were perplexed. Why was the filmmaker devoting so much time to the protagonist cleaning the kitchen or peeling potatoes, when there is more sensational stuff to show – like the fact that she’s a sex worker, or that she kills someone? In an interview with Camera Obscura, Akerman said, “I give space to things which were never, almost never, shown in that way, like the daily gestures of a woman. They are the lowest in the hierarchy of film images. A kiss or a car crash comes higher… It’s because [cooking and cleaning] are women’s gestures that they count for so little.”

I was reminded of this quote while watching the veteran Mexican filmmaker Arturo Ripstein’s provocatively titled Devil Between the Legs, at the International Film Festival of India. The story revolves around a couple, Beatriz (Sylvia Pasquel) and her insanely jealous husband (Alejandro Suárez; his character stays unnamed), who suspects that she sleeps around. In an early scene, he wakes up, goes to her bedroom, lifts up her nightdress and clicks a picture of her bare bottom. He looks around the room and finds a bra. He stuffs it into his underwear, and after a few seconds, mumbles that it’s “not even worth for that”.

Continued at the link above.

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