Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Venus in Fur

Venus in Fur
Emmanuelle Seinger, Mathieu Amalric

Rated: No rating 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: June 20, 2014 Released by: IFC Films

Roman Polanski is behind another quirky, provocative drama working off a controversial novella (from whose author masochism was derived)translated to the stage by playwright David Ives.

Venus In Fur (in French with English subtitles) stars Emmanuelle Seigner and Mathieu Amalric (both in the expertly poignant Julian Schnabel film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) and has a head-spinning aplomb to it from the shifting dynamic between distraught actress and ornery play writer/director.

Seigner's Vanda is running late to a Parisian theater to audition for Thomas (Amalric, looking uncannily like Polanski) who quickly dismisses her; yet her tenacity to completely inhabit the character has quite an effect on him in ways that spark how his talent is refined in the first place. In running the lines a transfixing occurs, albeit unexpected, that works for an unusual power play, arguably more compelling than a recent Polanski stage to screen compact and compelling adaptation (like the play-within-the-film), Carnage.

The ideas involved here are filled with complex droll insinuation in a dominatrix misogynistic literary-based way to let the astute thespians examine often in heated fashion gender roles in society and relationships maybe excessively pungent given its snappy discourse. Under Polanski's audacious craftsmanship about physical role playing there's something clever going on with co-scenarist Ives to unveil the insight through the back and forth vantage points of Vanda and Thomas that startling goes beyond the surface of sexual tensions.

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