Episode 48. Crime and Punishment: Rape and Revenge in I Spit On Your Grave (1978) and Elle (2016)

rape revengeThe discussion of rape and sexual violence has never been in our cultural conversation as much as it is now. In this episode, Andrea and Alex look at an exploitation classic and a contemporary award-winner to parse out how rape is depicted and how revenge is achieved, if at all.


I Spit On Your Grave. Dir. Meir Zarchi, 1978.
Elle. Dir. Paul Verhoeven, 2016.


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4 thoughts on “Episode 48. Crime and Punishment: Rape and Revenge in I Spit On Your Grave (1978) and Elle (2016)

  1. Richard says:

    Another excellent episode, Professors, so thank you. Every episode is worth the wait. I really love the time you two take in both preparing and polishing your episodes.

    One thing I’d like to contribute is the use of the term ‘revenge’ for this genre, which I think is entirely meaningful, as opposed to retribution or payback. Most revenge stories worth their salt are naturally complex, mainly because revenge stems from a crime that is extremely personal and emotionally damaging. Pursuing revenge then gets complicated because the ensuing violence, while justified, often adds trauma, and the avenger is faced with committing crime in response to being the victim of one. Those friggin Bronson movies may have tried to sell vengeance as the obligation of the Good Guy, but the larger (and better) tradition examines vengeance as something not so cut-and-dry, and I really loved your appreciation of those spirals in these movies.

  2. Richard says:

    PS–just read the Ebert review and found it HIGHLY unfortunate. I guess he felt he was high on the saddle condemning the guy cheering on the rapes and thought taking on the feminist would make for equal time? Ugh.

  3. Todd Mason says:

    Though it isn’t Quite the same sort of film, a contrasting view with MARTYRS would be illuminating as well, I think.

  4. Migs says:

    I just found this podcast and have been mainlining it. I love how deep your commentaries go and how it isn’t just opining. Small complaints, though: your musical intro is very long, and as much as I love trailers, I don’t really get anything out of hearing them in their entirety. I can’t fast forward through them either without downloading the mp3. I’d love for those noise vacuums to be filled with more of your awesome thoughts!

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