Monday, July 27, 2015

NZIFF 2015: Film 7; The Duke Of Burgundy

The Penalty for Non-Compliance is... More of the Same! Oh, if you Really Insist then...

What's it about? Dominance & Submission between two exquisitely dressed European ladies in a secluded villa with a definite seventies Euro-Softcore porn vibe!

When you first read the description of this film, one immediately thinks that you'll see exactly what you expect upon first viewing; copious amounts of naked flesh, but... artfully shot. What you get though, is something quite different. I'll freely admit that in amongst all the serious, angst-laden films I've planned to see at the festival, this one appealed for one reason alone. The chance for a bit of 'light relief', free from the rigours of both scripted and unscripted dramas. C'mon people, who's not adverse to a bit of titillation every now and again?

Interestingly though, the nakedness wasn't that plentiful, what did catch my eye was just about every other aspect of this sumptuous surrealistic erotic fantasy. Stunning light filtered cinematography, an eerie, haunting and melancholic score, gorgeous costumes, wisteria covered crumbling villas that oozed faded elegance. None of this would have mattered though if the performances weren't good. The two principal actresses, Sidse Babett Knudsen & Chiara D'Anna were both outstanding, giving subtle, but finely nuanced roles that revealed a depth and presence to their potentially shallow characters at first glance.

The Duke of Burgundy is a film that many (including myself initially) quite wrongly attempt to pigeon-hole as being of a certain genre when in fact, it is that rare beast - A film that transcends its theoretical limitations - by offering a tale that gives so much more.

Not just something for the raincoat brigade then...

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