In Roman Polanski’s film of the stage hit, Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Seigner are terrific as director and auditioning actress acting out Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s classic text of dominance and submission.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
“Welcome to Roman Polanski’s hall of mirrors. David Ives’ play Venus in Fur is a two-hander, set in a theatre, about a director auditioning an actress for a play based on a novel – a tricksy, teasing story about dominance and submission. As if that wasn’t heady enough, Roman Polanski muddies the waters further. Not only does his film Venus in Fur stand on such sandy foundations, but he’s cast his own wife, Emmanuelle Seigner, as the actress, Vanda. His choice of Mathieu Amalric as the fledgling director, Thomas, with his dark hair flopped diagonally over his face and his jacket worn over t-shirt, surely nods towards a younger version of Polanski himself… Like a snowball gathering new meanings through its different incarnations, Polanski’s multi-layered version has one foot in the real world and one in the world of play-acting, art and literature. Both funny and strangely sensual, it begins with the air of a throwaway screwball comedy and ends up more weird and biting… As the actors move fluidly between various states, shedding one skin while assuming another, Polanski makes this subversive parlour game matter.” — Dave Calhoun, Time Out