Sexual gamesmanship gets a French twist in "Venus in Fur," director Roman Polanski’s kinky adaptation of David Ives’ Tony-nominated play.
Some of the kink is inherent in the story, a two-character tale about a playwright, Thomas (Mathieu Amalric), auditioning an actress, Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner), for the lead in his adaptation of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 novel "Venus in Furs," the book that helped coin the word "masochism."
‘Venus in Fur’
Opens Friday, July 18, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; not rated, but probably R for nudity, sexual dialogue and language; in French with subtitles; 96 minutes.
In Ives’ play and the screenplay he and Polanski adapted, the seemingly vapid Vanda turns out to be perfect at delivering Thomas’ words — and, at times, upends the dominant/submissive relationship between writer and performer.
It’s kinky on a meta level here, since Amalric resembles a younger Polanski and Seigner (who played opposite Amalric in "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly") is Polanski’s wife.
In this somewhat stage-bound battle of wills, Seigner is intriguing but slightly overmatched by Amalric, who’s dynamic as the tortured writer.
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