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LFF 2014: The Duke of Burgundy | reviews, news & interviews

LFF 2014: The Duke of Burgundy

LFF 2014: The Duke of Burgundy

Beguiling Seventies-style erotica from British auteur Peter Strickland

Chiara D’Anna dwelling on the upsides of a human toilet

Love is a many-splendored thing but it can also be a cruel mistress, as British auteur Peter Strickland so exquisitely illuminates in this startlingly beautiful Seventies-style European erotica, which centres around power and desire.The shifting nature of long-term relationships is explored through a lesbian couple with a fetish for butterflies and S&M.

Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and Evelyn’s (Chiara D’Anna) relationship is presented in a slyly funny manner with tinges of sadness delivering harsh truths about the dark side of devotion. Evelyn likes it rough and Cynthia obliges but pines for nights where she doesn’t have to dress up in lace stockings, instead preferring her comfortable pyjamas. Cutting straight to the heart of the matter, Strickland vigorously studies their stifling of emotion via overt sex games.

The pair flitter from their sequestered abode to a grand entomology institute located in a world inhabited only by women who rarely converse but listen intently to lectures. Strickland strikes up an eerie ambience through the isolated autumnal settings but underpins it all with a mischievous sense of humour. Absurd visual jokes are dotted throughout, and despite a duke being mentioned in the title not a single man appears in the film.

Strickland’s previous solo outing Berberian Sound Studio cleverly played with the tropes of giallo through sound. In The Duke of Burgundy he once again subverts expectations with the teasing of flesh exposing underlying woes. Cynthia and Evelyn’s tryst is placed under a microscopic lens and dissected, making for emotionally engaging viewing which tells both sides of the story.

Strickland strikes up an eerie ambience through the isolated autumnal settings but underpins it all with a mischievous sense of humour

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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