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A couple’s bond

The Duke of Burgundy: What will you do for love?
The Duke of Burgundy: What will you do for love?
Movie

Duke of Burgundy **

thumbnail

Despite the '70s arthouse softcore vibe, there's little in the way of sex and/or nudity in this deeply felt BDSM romance. Instead, writer-director Peter Strickland makes the viewer squirm in the presence of naked emotional intimacy. Cynthia is a gently aging entomologist; Evelyn is her young and willing slave. Or at least, she plays one during their routine fantasy scenario (emphasis on <em>routine</em>). The film wastes no time in revealing the complicated power dynamics at work (or should that be “in play”?) in their relationship, and a botched birthday present — Evelyn wanted a bed with a storage compartment, but wound up with a basic lockbox instead — begins a chain of tiny but telling events that test the nature of the couple’s bond. Unfortunately, the film’s chief crisis comes at the cost of believability, hinging as it does on a bondage furniture saleswoman’s willingness to casually disclose the identity of her other clients. Still, it’s an impressive achievement: the rendering of a private and extremely particular world in terms that any lover will understand. The great question: are they together for each other’s sake, or for their own?

Find showtimes

If this is Valentine’s Day weekend, The Duke of Burgundy must be a deeply felt lesbian BDSM romance. Don’t arrive looking for titillation; there’s little in the way of sex and/or nudity. But writer-director Peter Strickland knows how to make you squirm with the discomfort of the reluctant voyeur at the sight of a woman hand-washing her lover’s panties or letting her face serve as a seat cushion. He also brings a ’70s arthouse softcore vibe to the story of Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and Evelyn (Chiara D’Anna), complete with alarming dream sequences, soft-focus intimacy, and airy liltings aimed at aural dreamery.

Cynthia is a gently aging entomologist (my, such a lot of pretty winged specimens pinned to her collecting board); Evelyn is her young and willing slave. Or at least, she plays one during their routine fantasy scenario (emphasis on routine). The film wastes no time in revealing the complicated power dynamics at work (or should that be “in play”?) in their relationship. The fantasy being indulged is very much the slave’s, and the master’s attempt to assert herself — by, say, wearing comfortable pajamas instead of elaborate lingerie — is cause for criticism. A botched birthday present — Evelyn wanted a bed with a storage compartment, but wound up with a basic lockbox instead — begins a chain of tiny but telling events that test the nature of the couple’s bond. Heh — he said bond.

Video:

The Duke of Burgundy Official Trailer

Unfortunately, the film’s chief crisis — an accusation of infidelity, in the serving realm if not in the sexual — comes at the cost of believability, hinging as it does on a bondage furniture saleswoman’s willingness to casually disclose the identity of her other clients. (It’s one thing to be interested in buying a device that turns you into a human toilet. It’s another thing to let the neighbors in on the secret.) Still, it’s an impressive achievement: the rendering of a private and extremely particular world in terms that any lover will understand. The great question: are they together for each other’s sake, or for their own?

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The Duke of Burgundy: What will you do for love?
The Duke of Burgundy: What will you do for love?
Movie

Duke of Burgundy **

thumbnail

Despite the '70s arthouse softcore vibe, there's little in the way of sex and/or nudity in this deeply felt BDSM romance. Instead, writer-director Peter Strickland makes the viewer squirm in the presence of naked emotional intimacy. Cynthia is a gently aging entomologist; Evelyn is her young and willing slave. Or at least, she plays one during their routine fantasy scenario (emphasis on <em>routine</em>). The film wastes no time in revealing the complicated power dynamics at work (or should that be “in play”?) in their relationship, and a botched birthday present — Evelyn wanted a bed with a storage compartment, but wound up with a basic lockbox instead — begins a chain of tiny but telling events that test the nature of the couple’s bond. Unfortunately, the film’s chief crisis comes at the cost of believability, hinging as it does on a bondage furniture saleswoman’s willingness to casually disclose the identity of her other clients. Still, it’s an impressive achievement: the rendering of a private and extremely particular world in terms that any lover will understand. The great question: are they together for each other’s sake, or for their own?

Find showtimes

If this is Valentine’s Day weekend, The Duke of Burgundy must be a deeply felt lesbian BDSM romance. Don’t arrive looking for titillation; there’s little in the way of sex and/or nudity. But writer-director Peter Strickland knows how to make you squirm with the discomfort of the reluctant voyeur at the sight of a woman hand-washing her lover’s panties or letting her face serve as a seat cushion. He also brings a ’70s arthouse softcore vibe to the story of Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and Evelyn (Chiara D’Anna), complete with alarming dream sequences, soft-focus intimacy, and airy liltings aimed at aural dreamery.

Cynthia is a gently aging entomologist (my, such a lot of pretty winged specimens pinned to her collecting board); Evelyn is her young and willing slave. Or at least, she plays one during their routine fantasy scenario (emphasis on routine). The film wastes no time in revealing the complicated power dynamics at work (or should that be “in play”?) in their relationship. The fantasy being indulged is very much the slave’s, and the master’s attempt to assert herself — by, say, wearing comfortable pajamas instead of elaborate lingerie — is cause for criticism. A botched birthday present — Evelyn wanted a bed with a storage compartment, but wound up with a basic lockbox instead — begins a chain of tiny but telling events that test the nature of the couple’s bond. Heh — he said bond.

Video:

The Duke of Burgundy Official Trailer

Unfortunately, the film’s chief crisis — an accusation of infidelity, in the serving realm if not in the sexual — comes at the cost of believability, hinging as it does on a bondage furniture saleswoman’s willingness to casually disclose the identity of her other clients. (It’s one thing to be interested in buying a device that turns you into a human toilet. It’s another thing to let the neighbors in on the secret.) Still, it’s an impressive achievement: the rendering of a private and extremely particular world in terms that any lover will understand. The great question: are they together for each other’s sake, or for their own?

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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