Century 2013: Venus in Fur

Gah. Another DVVD with forced subtitles…

Venus in Fur. Roman Polanski. 2013.

Without Canal+, there would have been no European cinema for the past two decades. That’s my conclusion after watching a lot of films these past couple of years. Canal+ is always, in my mind at least, listed as a co-producer of any European arty movie.

So it here, with this kinda-recent Polanski film.

I haven’t seen a film of his for at least a decade or two. I think the last one I saw was when I watched all of Sigourney Weaver’s films like fifteen years ago. It was the one about torture in… Argentina? It was OK.

This film is about a director (who looks awfully like a young Polanski) (who’s doing an adaptation of Sacher-Masoch’s novel) in an empty theatre with a female actor, and… hijinx? ensue? OK, that’s unfair, but it’s just that Polanski’s name is so… icky?… these days that watching his films without that in mind is a challenge.

It’s funny. Polanski’s making fun of his stand-in. He’s describing a character as “A rich idler of his times, intelligent, well-traveled, cultivated” and the vital, manic pixie nightmare girl actress who’s disrupting his evening responds with “A nerd”.

[time passes]

They way I do these blog posts is usually I’ll watch a few minutes and then I have to make the cocktail and I’ll write something, and then I’ll write something throughout the film whenever I’m bored, but that didn’t happen here because THIS IS BRILLIANT!

There’s so many levels here, where Polanski is referencing his own biography, and the Sacher-Masoch novel, and the play they’re putting on, and the constant critiques of that play, and the hints that there might be something much bigger going on. It’s mind-bogglingly meta, and is the best film I’ve seen in quite a while.

Or perhaps I’m just very drunk.

The only thing that doesn’t work for me is the soundtrack. There’s this constant low-level almost-music going on all the time. This is a very funny film, but the soundtrack is like a non-vocal laugh track, and it’s really annoying.

This blog post is part of the Century series.

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