January 06, 2015

The Duke of Burgundy (2014)

The Duke of Burgundy (2014) - Movie Review
Directed by: Peter Strickland
Country: UK

Movie Review: For me there’s no doubt that “The Duke of Burgundy” is the best film from cult British filmmaker Peter Strickland. If his debut “Katalin Varga” surprised me in a positive way, “Berberian Sound Studio”, presented as an aesthetic exercise on audiovisuals, was a sort of disappointment. His latest work is a peculiar love story between two women, filled with eroticism, humor, and intrinsic tension in every move. Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and Evelyn (Chiara D’Anna) are lovers who inhabit a fantastic medieval villa somewhere in Europe. Both nurture a special taste for embellishing their relationship with repetitive rituals of humiliation and pleasure, where the former plays the dominant housemaster and the latter always impersonates a submissive maid. In the course of time, Cynthia starts to show a certain discomfort with her staging character, giving signs that she wants a more conventional and stable relationship. Evelyn, in turn, seems more and more addicted in these little representations, which always end the same way. Besides their private secret life, both are entomology enthusiasts, having very few contacts outdoors. However, in one of those contacts, jealous will put their relationship in jeopardy. Like as in Strickland’s previous films, the style adopted and atmosphere created are of great importance, bringing to my mind Jacques Rivette’s “Celine and Julie Go Boating” for a couple of times. Expressive performances and cinematography, in addition to the amazing score by Cat’s Eyes, are other factors that contributed to turn “The Duke of Burgundy” into a sensual, audacious romantic-drama of elegant articulation.

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