Following his tribute to giallo films with 2012’s Berberian Sound Studio, director Peter Strickland here takes his cue from 1960s and ‘70s European erotica, particularly the work of the amazingly prolific Jess Franco (perhaps best known for Vampyros Lesbos and his work with muse Lina Romay), in this seductive tale of mistress and servant. Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen, Borgen) punishes the errant behaviour of her maid Evelyn (Chiara D’Anna) in sexually humiliating ways, a situation soon revealed to be mere role-playing.
In reality, the two are a loving and committed couple trying to reinvigorate their relationship in scenarios which are controlled to the last detail by Evelyn, though beginning to lose their appeal for Cynthia. Imbued with a playful kinkiness, this beguiling and slyly humorous (pay attention to the credits) film confirms Strickland’s singular skills as a filmmaker. (Notes by Kevin Coyne)
Don’t forget we now schedule weekly.