THE PLOT THUS FAR
Alone in a Paris theater after a long day of auditioning actresses for his new play, writer-director Thomas (Mathieu Amalric, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) is distraught that no one has what it takes to play the lead female character: a woman who enters into an agreement with her male counterpart to dominate him as her slave. Enter pushy, foul-mouthed, desperate and ill-prepared actress Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner, La Vie en Rose) who is a whirlwind of erratic – and, it turns out, erotic – energy. When Thomas reluctantly agrees to let her try out for the part, he is stunned and captivated by her transformation: not only is Vanda a perfect fit, but she apparently has researched the role exhaustively, learned her lines by heart and even bought her own props. The likeness proves to be much more than skin-deep, and as the extended “audition” builds momentum, Thomas moves from attraction to obsession until the balance of power between director and actress shifts completely. Based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway play by David Ives, VENUS IN FUR is the latest work from master filmmaker Roman Polanski and a showcase for powerhouse performances from its two acclaimed leads.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
“Venus in Fur” is a film about gender roles. But, it’s a film about gender roles that uses S&M subtext while being directed by a man still accused of raping a teenage girl. That’s a ton of material to process, as you watch Emmanuelle Seigner and Mathieu Amalric knock their roles out of the park. Hell, they were so great in this that Sundance should see if they’re eligible for Oscar consideration. But, that’s never going to happen. Psycho sexual dramas about the blurred line between fantasy and reality rarely get much play anymore.
Roman Polanski is still one of the greatest living directors. The push to mix Greek myth with the desire to submit is astounding. While the mainstream eagerly awaits next year’s tepid “50 Shades of Gray” adaptation, the real deal is here. Watch the consequences and results of submitting to pleasure with a complete stranger. Especially as it challenges the balance of power between genders.
The DVD comes with interviews and a trailer as the special features. The A/V Quality is pretty sharp for standard definition. The transfer does the best with what standard definition can do in the modern era. Plus, the Dolby 5.1 track gives appropriate scale to the environment. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.
RELEASE DATE: 10/14/2014