Film: "Venus in Fur"

Sur un coup de tête, je propose qu'on aille voir ce film, avec Emmanuelle Seigner et Mathieu Amalric, ce qui me semble fascinant. (Une fois j'ai vu Seigner en France, à la salle de cinéma Euro Disney, où elle était venue avec le réalisateur d'un film dans lequel elle jouait à ce moment-là, pour parler aux membres de l'auditoire.)

Extrait de la critique de A.O. Scott (New York Times):

"Thomas and Vanda are confined, for nearly the entire duration of 'Venus in Fur,' in an empty Paris theater. She has arrived late for an audition, stumbling in from the rain-swept street with a burst of excuse-making and oversharing. Thomas, eager to get home to his fiancée and frustrated by the actresses he has seen so far, is unsure whether to indulge Vanda or send her away. He is intrigued that she shares her name with the character in his play, a stage adaptation of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 novel, 'Venus in Furs,' though he is also dismayed at her vulgar ignorance of its themes. 'It’s S-and-M porn, right?' she asks. (Like most things, this sounds much smuttier in French.) He insists that it’s a great love story. But again, why choose?

And in spite of her lack of sophistication, Vanda knows the play by heart, so much that Thomas (and the audience) may begin to suspect that she has walked out of its pages, like Madame Bovary in Woody Allen's 'Kugelmass Episode.' One of the delights of Mr. Ives’s play, and of Mr. Polanski’s nimble rendering of it, is the way it jumps in and out of the play within. As relations between actress and director grow more complicated, the boundary between their various actual and artificial selves twists and blurs. Vanda and Thomas keep turning into Vanda and Kushemski, the dreamy aristocrat at the center of Sacher-Masoch’s fable.

Their relationship is as kinky as a box of paper clips, at once archetypal and timely. Sacher-Masoch, like the Marquis de Sade now better known for his last name than his writing, filtered his tale of erotic humiliation and blissful pain through the mores of his own time and place. 'Venus in Fur' does the same, subjecting both Sacher-Masoch’s story and its own characters to the pressures of modern sexual politics. When Vanda calls out the sexism of the original, it is hard to argue with her, though it is certainly possible to quarrel about the feminist and misogynist implications of Mr. Polanski’s film.

What is beyond dispute is the sheer exuberant virtuosity Ms. Seigner and Mr. Amalric bring to the material. He is one of the most reliable — and also one of the least predictable — embodiments of Gallic intellectualism under duress. She is something else entirely: a whirlwind of ferocious intelligence and canny instinct, elusive and magnetic. And she settles the question of what 'Venus in Fur' is really about. It’s about acting and the voyeuristic delight, sensual and cerebral in equal measure, that comes from watching it happen."

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  • yvette

    Thank you for organizing Emily; see you next time.

    August 1, 2014

  • yvette

    Very French film. For the most part, easy to follow the dialogue In French. Interesting because of way the characters went in and out of various roles. I would recommend to al Francophiles.

    August 1, 2014

  • Emily

    J’ai bien aimé le jeu des deux acteurs.

    July 31, 2014

  • Emily

    Après le film, on ira, pour ceux qui le voudraient, à Saturn Café pour du café et/ou dessert. Si ça vous intéresse, merci d'indiquer "Café" dans la section des commentaires. C'est à deux pâtés de maison du théâtre.

    July 31, 2014

    • lynn

      Emily and Yvette, I enjoyed the film and getting to know you. Btw, the Polanski film I was talking about is Carnage with Kate Winslet not Blanchette.

      1 · July 31, 2014

    • Emily

      Merci, Lynn. Moi aussi, toi et Yvette, vous êtes très sympa. : )

      July 31, 2014

  • Susan B.

    Emily, thanks for the invitation. Although I feel some trepidation about the dormancy of my French skills, i.e., I fear I've forgotten my French(!), I am eager to meet other Francophones and to share our common interests. Donc, j'arrive.

    1 · July 30, 2014

    • Emily

      Hi Susan! Well, if no one expresses interest in meeting up after the film, you won't have much chance to practice your French anyway... ;o) So far, no one has indicated they want to, so I'm not sure if they don't or if they just forgot to mention it. Et toi?

      July 30, 2014

    • Susan B.

      I had not given the afterward meeting much thought, but I would be happy to get together for a little while. It's been a while since I've had occasion to speak French; thus the slight hesitation on my part. I should welcome this opportunity; just wondering if the French will come to me. I do not know much about Berkeley eateries/coffee and tea shops, but any place that is clean, cozy, and reasonably quiet would suffice.

      July 30, 2014

  • Ricia W.

    Ce film m'interesse parce que j'adore le film, "Chinatown," par Polanski. Je voudrais voir sa femme et les idees de Polanski.

    1 · July 28, 2014

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