It’s hard to imagine anyone watching the movie we’re halfway through Look What You Made Me Do just put it on the internet. Director Coco Schrijber (who for FirstKill interviewed war veterans about the first time they had to kill someone, and before How To Be A Mermaid her brother’s suicide by drowning) told the Film newspaper that she just found it on YouTube. And it is precisely because they are gritty surveillance camera images that they are so penetrating. A man kills a young woman in an elevator. Moments later we see, plop, a body being thrown down. So careless, so vulnerable, so shocking you feel it in all your bones.

According to a 2020 United Nations report, about 50,000 women are killed each year as a result of intimate partner violence. That is 137 a day, or as Schrijber towards the end of Look What You Made Me Do delicately notes: 5.2 while watching her movie. Then we also understand those blood-red numbers that appear on the screen at regular intervals.

In documentary essay Look What You Made Me Do she turns the camera. She has found three women who killed their husbands to end the violence to tell their stories. “Now I have blood on my face,” says the first of them. Schrijber films her while she is putting on her make-up, so we automatically assume that she must be camouflaging traces of violence. Or that she’s the young woman we just got injured during a naked wrestling match in the snow that got out of hand. The soundtrack makes all kinds of ominous noises, it grinds and creaks and splashes and splashes.

As in all her films, Schrijber weaves together stories from apparently random witnesses into an impressive, inimitable whole, supplemented with highly personal associations. She uses, for example, the famous painting by Artemisia Gentileschi, who painted the biblical scene of Judith beheading her assailant Holofernes at the beginning of the seventeenth century.

This is intuitive filmmaking at its best. Gentileschi’s life and work was rediscovered in the wake of #MeToo because the painter herself was also a victim of sexual assault, and this painting was a way to express her feelings of anger and revenge. Look What You Made Me Do is also a furious movie, one that repeats the words of that other hashtag five years after #MeToo: #TimesUp.

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