Say what you will about the state of film: We’ve gotten two riffs on Don Siegel’s 1971 The Beguiled in as many years, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The first was Sofia Coppola’s 2017 redux of the same name, and now it’s Bruce LaBruce’s The Misandrists, which he’s called “a very loose remake” of the Siegel film. In 1999 Germany, injured young leftist revolutionary Volker (Til Schindler) is found in the woods by schoolgirls Isolde (Kita Updike) and Hilde (Olivia Kundisch). The girls are members of the Female Liberation Army, a radical feminist terrorist group run by Big Mother (Susanne Sachsse) that plans to take over the world by making the greatest lesbian porn movie ever.
Isolde hides Volker in the basement of the group’s compound and nurses him back to health in secret, which is just the tip of a very strange iceberg. The film has countless opportunities to go wrong, being a spoof of militant feminist politics with very strong trans themes directed by a middle-aged cis gay male, but it mostly works. (Bruce is no Milo.) In fact, The Misandrists might have benefited from going a little further into We Are the Flesh-style explicitness, but in the end the picture goes just far enough, and the results are nothing if not beguiling.
Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza.