Did Alice stumble into the French version of Wonderland, or does this merely take place on Planet Goofball, in the Zany Critters planetary system, in the vicinity of the Silly Dream Nebula, located right smack at the outer rim of the Loony Galaxy?
A beautiful blonde, resembling Maria Sharapova a bit, experiences a series of hallucinations(?), roaming about in a world which isn't explained to us at all (or is it? maybe I'm just too daft for Malle's undoubtedly multi-layered hidden intellectual musings). There are animals doing strange stuff, there is a rather absurd i.e. overly symbolic war between men and women (carrying whatever left-wing meaning it probably carries), and there is an old woman that seems to have a taste for fresh human milk. (Milk, not blood, though she could have fooled me.) This strange, perhaps alien, wasteland even features Andy Warhol's own Joe D'Allessandro, acting as badly as ever, not having his little friend dangle about but this time pretending to be mute even though he quite clearly sings great opera, mere hours before frantically trying to lop off the head of a brown eagle, which sets of a battle between him and his sister Lily, while Maria chats with a semi-grumpy unicorn. Did I mention that Joe's name is also Lily?
Where else but in a 70s European "art film" will you see a 75 year-old hag suck on the nipples of a young woman (her own daughter)? You won't see that in a Disney or Spielberg flick. The goofy old witch even gropes Maria at one point. But considering that this is a European "arthouse" flick, the perversion takes quite a back seat. After all, most Euro-art flicks have to have either masturbation (preferably involving a boy aged 9, peeking through a key-hole, watching his hairy aunt shower), incest, cannibalism, or at the very least homosexuality. "Art" as an excuse to indulge in depravity and the baser forms of human behaviour? I'm just asking, not saying. Don't shoot the messenger.
Thankfully, apart from the cringe-wrothy scene of the old biddy cop-a-feeling the wonderful English dyevochka (Rex Harrison's grand-daughter, nepotism working for once), the film is just weird. Bizarre, but without hurling us into the oftenh inevitable lurid depths of necrophilia, pedophilia, or any other "philias" that Euro-trashy "art" directors seem to be so fond of. No-one is eating poo here, no-one gets their head lopped off by a family member, and no children get gang-raped by a group of sex-starved cannibalistic Fascists. No such "art" here, thankfully. BM is quite enjoyable.
But even more bizarre than the nipple-sucking were Maria's very very odd temper-tantrums. Bad acting, senseless characterization, or flawed choices by the director? You tell me. I kind of liked it. Indeed, I thoroughly enjoyed Maria, whatever she may have been doing, and the same could be said of the excellent photography, courtesy of Sven the Svensky, who finally put his talents to some good use after having previously shot a string of utterly pointless, monotonous, ugly Bergman dramas.
BM starts off with the brutal though accidental(?) slaying of a luckless badger, not exactly the most enjoyable scene in the picture. I wondered what meaning this strange killing had in regard to Maria and her character. I didn't wonder for long. About a half-hour later I ceased wondering altogether, stopped trying to figure out this film because it became evident that there was absolutely nothing to figure out, sort of like trying to analyze the mind of Sean Penn – nothing there. Even "Eraserhead" has more structure and meaning.
The old woman mocks Maria's "small breasts", but her daughter's chest turned out to be only marginally larger. So much for senseless nit-picking, Grandma! You only wish your daughter were as hot as the loony blonde!
I'm discussing breasts and grannies instead of the story, you say? Well, that's hardly my fault. BM has no plot to speak of. It is merely an almost random collection of interesting images and strange goings-on.
At almost exactly the half-point of the movie, Maria asks Granny: "Would you please tell me what's going on around here?" And not a moment too soon. I guess she spoke for us all. Perhaps that wasn't even in the script, and she add-libbed it, directing the question right at Malle himself. The decadent old bint responds to the question by laughing wickedly (for the umpteenth time), which is how I imagine Louis may have reacted had anyone dared ask him what the hell this movie is about. So in a sense perhaps the granny is the Malle's alter ego: she likes to grope blond girls, loves sucking on their nipples, and she laughs at any attempts made to comprehend the plot. The non-plot.
The upside to this kind of film – i.e. a totally plot less, "allegorical" one (allegory as an excuse to not have to come up with an actual story?) - is that the unpredictability level is high. You simply cannot tell what will happen next, sort of like watching an insane person alone in a shopping mall or a zoo. However, where the movie draws nearly all of its advantages are the amazing visuals and Maria's good looks and charisma. Since the movie offers no actual content (apart from a blond, a hag, an Andy Warhol Z-movie-budget reject, and a bunch of animals pretending to speak) it remains for the visual aspects to shine, and they do, hence saving this movie from the usual oblivion of euro-crapdom. If you're a sucker for high visual quality in movies, as I am, then you will enjoy this film. However, if you are looking for a plot to carry you through, stay away.
Review by fedor8 from the Internet Movie Database.