A new film which depicts Hitler as a woman has been causing controversy at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, with critics divided as to whether the movie is actively pursuing a feminist agenda with its gender fluid casting, or whether, by depicting a notorious fascist dictator as a woman, it is seeking to undermine the ‘#metoo’ movement. The producer of I Shagged Hitler’s Brains Out, which is being shown out of competition at Cannes, has himself helped stir the debate, with his comments to trade journal Variety. “I really don’t understand the criticism from feminists – if casting is to be truly gender fluid, then they have to take the rough with the smooth,” Jason Hurkle told the venerable publication. “I mean, we keep seeing the good guys having their gender reassigned – Doctor Who and Thor, for instance – so it is only fair that they should take their fair share of the villains and monsters. We’re not being anti-feminist with this movie, just levelling the playing field.” In the same interview Hurkle argued that feminists should be welcoming his film, as it was setting a precedent for women to finally be cast in traditional male lreading roles. “It’s long been complained that not enough films provide women with leading roles. Well, we’re dong just that by casting a woman in the title role of I Shagged Hitler’s Brains Out,” he explained. “Besides, everyone knows that the villain is always the best role – and what bigger villain than Hitler is there?”

Some critics have questioned just why some of their colleagues are devoting so much time and column inches to a cheap sexploitation film which sees Hitler’s brain transplanted into the body of a beautiful woman during the last desperate days in the bunker. “Frankly, they are reading far too much into what is, essentially, a crappy direct-to-DVD release,” muses Stanley Brinx, film critic for the Sunday Bystander. “I’ve it myself and, believe me, there is no sub-text, feminist or otherwise – the film is simply a crude revenge drama which sees the female Hitler seeking revenge on her enemies – including Churchill and Stalin – by seducing and killing them. It’s just an excuse for lots of violence, nudity and sex. The fact that it involves Hitler undergoing a sex change is just for exploitation value and to provide an eye-catching title!” Indeed, Brinx believes that much of controversy over the film has been engineered by Hurkle in order to generate publicity for an otherwise unsaleable film. “Why else would he have gone to the trouble of having such a piece of crap exhibited at Cannes?” asks the critic. “The whole thing is poorly made and frequently unintelligible – without the controversy nobody would have hear of it and no distributor would touch it.”

Nevertheless, others still believe that the film is peddling an anti-feminist message and trading in gender stereotypes. “Regardless of its quality and lack of artistic merit, I Shagged Hitler’s Brains Out is clearly designed to reinforce misogynistic attitudes whilst simultaneously claiming to be ‘progressive’ through its gender-bending casting and concept,” opines Susie Quantocks, author of the radical feminist classic The Female Bastard. “In common with the majority of female revenge themed films, rather than actually showing women being empowered by taking the law into their own hands, it actually shows them as being too weak to resolve their issues without resort to using their ‘feminine wiles’ and behaving like a prostitute, seducing their victims with crude displays of sexual allure.” In particular Quantocks points a scene in the film where the female Hitler engages in vigourous sex with an aged Winston Churchill, inducing a near fatal heart attack which leaves the British Prime Minister crippled. “This is a typically demeaning portrayal of female sexuality,” he argues. “By equating sex with fatality it is clearly implying that the sexually active woman is an existential threat to men, the aim of the female orgasm being not pleasure, but death.”

Quantock has also highlighted sequences in the film where the female Hitler is captured by Allied agents who violently subdue her. “The message here is quite clear: the combined military might of the Allies was incapable of destroying Hitler the man, but once Hitler is a woman, she can be subjugated and abused,” she contends. “Once again, far from being empowering, Hitler’s change of gender renders him weak and vulnerable!” The writer find the films climactic sequence particularly significant. “In the scene which gives the film its title, the last surviving Allied agent is able to finally defeat the female Hitler by, quite literally, shagging her brains out – her head explodes as she climaxes in the face of his brutal sexual assault,” she says. “On one level this making a comment upon female intelligence: a mentally superior woman’s brains can ultimately be overcome by a man’s penis. On another, it is making the broader point that the sexuality of a ‘real man’ is always superior to that of a woman. This is a very dangerous film whose ultimate message is that even when allowed to take on a powerful male role, a woman is always doomed to be subjugated by rampant masculinity!”

In a bizarre coda to the story, a ninety nine year old Minnesota man has threatened to sue Hurkle for breach of copyright, claiming that the film is an unauthorised adaptation of his novel I Blew Hitler’s Brains Out, originally published in the June 1959 issue of Thrusting War Stories For Men and later reissued in paperback. “My book told of how Hitler died of a fatal brain aneurysm while being given oral sex by a Jewish rent boy disguised as a member of the Hitler youth,” nonagenarian Herbert Foon told the <b. “In order to cover up this shameful demise, the Nazis claimed he’d committed suicide – it was typical of the sort of pulp story men’s magazines were putting out back then. Lurid stuff designed to further discredit the Nazis.” The aged author, however, claims that the story was actually based on fact. “Obviously, I had to change a lot of the details – partly for security reasons, but partly because nobody would have believed some of the details,” he told the notorious tabloid. “But the fact is that crazy Nazi scientists did succeed in transplanting Hitler’s brain into a woman’s body just before the end of the war. Unfortunately for Adolf, some problems with the operation meant that a good hard shagging could dislodge the transplanted brain, allowing pressure to build in the skull, eventually causing a cranial explosion.” Incredibly, Foon has claimed that he was the OSS agent sent to stop the female Hitler’s revenge plan, which he did by taking her roughly from behind in a Buenos Ares hotel room in 1952. “That’s right,” he declares. “It was me that shagged Hitler’s brains out and I want my damned royalties!”