Venus in Fur
Roman Polanski returns to the role of provocateur with a deliciously subversive filming of David Ives’ play. Fiddling with gender roles, metatextuality and perceptions of the auteur himself, this nimble and cheeky two-hander suggests Polanski might be hitting something of a late-life purple-patch following his success with The Ghost and Carnage.
Polanski’s wife Emmanuelle Seigner and his faintly creepy, very deliberate lookalike Mathieu Amalric play Vanda and Thomas respectively. The latter is an outwardly macho, egoist director adapting Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s famed novel of sexual slavery for the stage, the former an outwardly shambolic actress auditioning for the lead role. This simple set-up allows the players and their director to indulge in some super-smart wordplay and theatrical deconstruction, with von Sacher-Masoch’s tale of a man desperate for a life of bondage being retold and re-appropriated from different perspectives until the commentary and archness simply dazzle. A devastatingly funny, exhausting picture that could potentially confound, but just about frantic and witty enough to hopefully prompt one universal reaction: “Christ, that was bloody enjoyable.”