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Venus in Fur

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From Roman Polanski comes the screen adaptation of David Ives’ award-winning play, itself based on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s semi-autobiographical novella Venus in Fur.

Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner) arrives dishevelled and late at a small Parisian venue to audition for fledgling director Thomas’s (Mathieu Amalric) own theatrical adaptation of Sacher-Masoch’s book. Initially aghast at the prospect of missing dinner with his fiancée, Thomas is nonetheless drawn slowly but inextricably ever deeper into Vanda’s web of domination – having his own sexual frustrations illuminated by the sultry actress’s clever use of stage lighting in the process.

Polanski, as only Polanski can do, uses the two actors as counter-weights, each in turn assuming not only theatrical control, but sexual power and intelligence to subjugate the other.

There is no doubt that Seigner and Amalric, having appeared together previously, display a natural chemistry, one stoked by Polanski’s provocative direction and further enflamed by Sacher-Masoch’s theories of voyeuristic pursuit and masochistic pleasure.

Venus in Fur whips itself into a fury of kaleidoscopic hedonism, swinging between the battle of the sexes and personal fetishes with alarming frequency, leaving the viewer, much like the reader, in a state of flux – exploring not only the character’s observations of one another’s wants, but more disturbingly, highlighting one’s own darkest desires.

More InDaily film reviews:

Charlie’s Country
Venus in Fur
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
The Lunchbox
Belle & Sebastian
Rising From the Ashes
Transformers: Age of Extinction
Yves St Laurent
Good Vibrations

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