Femme Brutal

At some point, one of the protagonists remarks: "The bosom is not exactly our simplest body part." Nonetheless, it can be seen quite frequently in Liesa Kovacs´s and Nick Prokesch´s discursive documentary: With and without the pasties typical of a burlesque show. Seven performers reflect on the techniques that they have developed with regard to the performance of their (naked) female bodies based on their appearance in the context of the Burlesque Brutal Club initiated by Katrina Daschner at Wiener Brut.
It quickly becomes clear that they orient themselves more on artists such as Gina Pane and musicians such as Laurie Anderson than on Dita von Teese: in the end, already in the fulminant opening performance, it is more about the sexual desire that arises between women (characters) than about the presentation of an agreeable female body.

All seven artists created alter egos for themselves (Madame Cameltoe, Miss Bourbon, Doctor Sourial, Frau Professor La Rose, Miss Kottlett, Madame Don Chanel, and Cunt), which are extremely important for their work on stage. Katrina Daschner aka Professor La Rose, comments: "Everything that I do on stage, and everything that I am, is how it should be." Another artist, with the name Doctor Sourial, proposes the loaded contradiction that on the one hand, the stage is a good hiding place, but when stripping, she feels powerful.
How the seven performers were able to emancipate (also themselves) from the traditional projections on the female body, is the central theme that carries through the conversations, which alternate with impressive burlesque performances: for example, the classical femme who bathes her bosom in a huge glass bowl; the musician who borrows from the actionists, and a dancer who is interested in mechanically robot-like movements that are not gender identifiable.
All of this is told in equally ingenious and humorous interviews in which the artists discuss with one another how they found their stage characters. After all, a great deal is negotiable there: gender- and genre-specific attributions, lesbian sex, the lack of female comedians, forced body images, and also the conviction that the bare bosom, if it belongs anywhere, then on the queer-feminist stage. (Christa Benzer)

Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt

While never really leaving the stage FEMME BRUTAL translates the core questions of CLUB BURLESQUE BRUTAL into the cinema. The performers are dealing with struggles concerning identity, body, sexuality and the inclination of the gaze. Within the film the backstage and backgrounds shift into the spotlight, become equal to the performance. The glamorous pictures of the show stand side by side with the performers collective stream of consciousness. With disarming honesty, self-irony and openness the protagonists offer insights into their backgrounds, motivations, identities and tell the story of their life-performances.
(Production Note)

Orig. Title
Femme Brutal
70 min
Orig. Language
Femme Brutal (Image)
Femme Brutal (Image)
Femme Brutal (Image)
Liesa Kovacs, Nick Prokesch
Concept & Realization
Liesa Kovacs, Nick Prokesch
Liesa Kovacs, Nick Prokesch
Cordula Thym
Madame Cameltoe, Frau Professor La Rose, Doktor Sourial, Miss Kottlett, Miss Bourbon, Cunt, Madame Don Chanel
Supported by
Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien, Wien Kultur, Land Niederösterreich, BKA. Kunst
Available Formats
DCP 2K flat
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Frame Rate
25 fps
Color Format
Digital File (prores, h264)
Festivals (Selection)
Linz - Crossing Europe Film Festival
Wien - this human world International Human Rights Film Festival (Audience Award)
London BFI Flare, LGBT Festival
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des österreichischen Films
Los Angeles - FRAMELINE Int. Gay and Lesbian Film & Video Festival
Malmö - Queer Film Festival
Glasgow - Scottish Queer Film Festival
Seattle - TWIST Queer Film Festival
Hannover - Perlen Queer Film Festival
München - Queer Film Festival
Genf - Everybody´s Perfect Festival
Firenze - Queer Festival
Berlin - Pornfilmfestival