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VENUS IN FUR

Director: ROMAN POLANSKI

96 minutes, France, 2013, Colour, D-Cinema


EXCLUSIVELY AT THE IFI

In a Paris theatre, director Thomas (Mathieu Amalric) has spent a long, frustrating day auditioning actresses for the female lead in his new play, an adaptation of Venus in Furs, Leopold von Sacher Masoch’s novel about sexual submission. No one has measured up to Thomas’ demanding expectations, and he’s about to leave in exasperation when Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner) stumbles into the theatre. Buzzing with chaotic energy, she convinces an initially reluctant Thomas to let her try out for the part, and so begins a provocative battle of the sexes, with Vanda initiating a curious, psychological duel between the pair.

Polanski’s witty, vibrant adaptation of David Ives’ stage play is mischievously sexy while delivering a sly critique of sexism and the male ego. As with his previous film Carnage, Polanski keeps the action essentially confined to one space, and Seigner and Amalric are on irresistible form, clearly relishing their roles in this smart two-hander. (Notes by Michael Hayden.)

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