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« End of Civilization? Episode 2 | Main | Telling France What to Do »

April 14, 2006

Karen Bach

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --


I was sorry to learn that Karen Bach (aka Karen Lancaume), one of the stars of the scandalous French art-porn revenge film "Baise-Moi," killed herself back in January. I thought the film, an ultra-low-budget, shot-on-video, XXX-rated, punk "Thelma and Louise," was an interesting experiment -- an attempt at something both sexually-explicit and substantial, written, directed, and acted by actual inhabitants of the French porn world. Hey, why shouldn't porno people make "real" art-and-entertainment things? They've got stories to tell too.

The film is hard to recommend. It's amateurish, frenetic, "post-feminist" in a way I'm not fond of, and driven by rage (not my favorite emotion). But I also thought that it achieved some extremely hot (as in dramatically-motivated and highly-sexual) moments, and that Karen Bach had an unusually appealing, "natural," dark lusciousness. (Her descent was half-German, half-Moroccan.) She was spirited and alert, in a Marisa Tomei-ish way. But for all her chic and earthiness, she also had something reflective and dignified, rather Christine Lahti-ish, about her.

She was intuitively sensual and relaxed before the camera. Unlike most porn performers, she had the instinct to let the camera find what it was looking for without trying to direct it, and without armoring herself against it. I watched her in "Baise-Moi," thinking, "This is someone with real physical-emotional daring -- someone whose performances I'd follow even if she weren't doing porn." Which is funny because I only rarely watch porn.

Bach grew up in the countryside outside Lyon, studied Communications, and became a disco/party girl. She began doing porn in 1996 with her first husband, a DJ, when they were down on their luck. At first, she let it be known that she'd screw no one onscreen but her husband. Hubby, though, had problems rising to the occasion before the cameras. He soon left the business, while his wife's appearances were well-received. The marriage broke up, and Karen Bach went on to have a substantial porn career, though French Wikipedia indicates that she never again worked after "Baise-Moi."

According to reports, Karen Bach killed herself by overdosing on sleeping pills while staying at a friend's apartment in Paris, leaving a note to her mother saying, "Too painful." Without further info, it's hard to know what to make of this. Did she find being a porno star degrading? Was she depressed about what her life had come to? Had a romance gone bad? Was she a drug addict? Perhaps she'd discovered that she had a fatal disease? I wish I knew more.

Here's Wikipedia's entry on her. Here's a web tribute to her. You can buy "Baise-Moi" here and Netflix it here. Here's an NSFW online trailer for "Baise-Moi."



posted by Michael at April 14, 2006


I cannot speculate on why this woman commited suicide, but I'm curious, Michael: What in the world did this woman (the film producer) need to avenge herself for?

What, exactly, was the reason for Thelma and Louise to take revenge? I watched the movie, and I was offended by the notion that men are guilty of some sort of collective guilt toward women. This is just a lie.

I read in another site recently a post by a man who obviously thought that it was a good thing for women to be "uppity" and I wondered, why? I meet "uppity" women all the time in Manhattan and Woodstock. I just find them tedious and ill mannered, for no good reason. No man (except for, perhaps, a spoiled brat gay activitist) would act this way.

Steve Sailer, a very good writer, has said repeatedly that the usual BS about blacks spoken between whites is not really about blacks. It's a game of one-upmanship between whites. A white who doesn't participate in the communal game of weeping over blacks or who does not support the quota system is releaving himself to be lower class. He is making it obvious that he actually needs a job and an education. For wealthy whites, the same gnashing of teeth over blacks presents no challenge to their position or wealth, and they get the freebie of wearing a halo.

The same is true here, I think, in all this BS about how terrible women have it, what cads men are and how women should get even. This is a way for a man to put on a halo and say: "Look how awful those other men are. But not me! I'm enlightened!" And, perhaps, the ultimate motive behind this foolish game is: "You should fuck me."

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on April 15, 2006 08:30 AM

And it's not as if the revenge of Thelma and Louise accomplished any sort of feminist empowerment. After all, they ended up dead.

Posted by: Peter on April 15, 2006 09:33 AM

Women want to be loved. (So do men, but it's not quite as central to them.) In pornography the woman is an object. She is hated.
This may have been a factor in Karen Bach's suicide.

Posted by: ricpic on April 15, 2006 11:15 AM

I'm with ricpic on this one. Obviously I have no idea about what drove this poor girl to suicide. But I suspect her choice of career didn't help a great deal. Sex is wonderful and life affirming, but doing it for money could be (at least if you're the right, or wrong type of person) among the most degrading things imaginable.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on April 19, 2006 10:05 PM

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Posted by: search on May 14, 2006 04:23 AM

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