Roman Polanski’s Venus in Fur Tops the Charts

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Rotten Tomatoes has given critical acclaim to director Roman Polanski's latest film "La Vénus à la fourrure" translated from French into English as: Venus in Fur.

Venus in Fur is the on-screen adaptation of the popular Broadway play, Venus in Fur by David Ives. His play, and the movie are based on the novel written by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. The film written by Roman Polanski and David Ives, is directed by Polanski.

It stars Emmanuelle Seigner, Polanski’s off-screen wife, as Vanda, and Mathieu Amalric as Thomas. The two-person cast is electric on-screen, and the chemistry between them is nothing short of amazing.

Venus in Fur tells the story of Thomas Novacheck, a writer and director of a new play, an adaptation of the 1870 novel, Venus in Furs. As he is on the telephone discussing how inadequate the actresses who showed up to audition for the female lead were, a new actress, Vanda Jordan, comes in to convince him to read the play with her. As the two read through the play together, Vanda shows incredible insight into the novel, as well as the main character. Over the course of the reading, Vanda establishes total dominance over Thomas, exactly as in the novel.

Critic David Rooney says, “Given that the volatile negotiation of gender roles in this two-hander is between an actress and her director, it adds amusing subtextual layers to have Mathieu Amalric, who bears a striking resemblance to the younger Polanski, playing opposite the director’s wife. It’s as if Polanski were winking at the audience about the inherent sadomasochism in every actor-director pact, insouciantly offering up his derriere to be spanked.

The play suffered from mid-section slackness and its back-and-forth dynamic grows mildly repetitive in both stage and screen versions. But the adaptation – co-authored by Ives and Polanski from a translation by Abel Gerschenfeld – is arguably tauter, even if the film shows its hand too early with clues that Vanda is a far more enigmatic figure than she appears. But there’s a masterfully light touch at work, both from the director and his two wonderful actors.

They make this chamber piece lip-smacking entertainment, giving the dense text the semblance of more intellectual heft or sexual transgressiveness than it ultimately contains.

Roman Polanski is in playfully perverse form with this nimble pas de deux adapted from David Ives' stage hit.”

The film was nominated for Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. This is the highest award given at the festival. Though it did not win the award, the nomination in and of itself is a great achievement.

About the Director

Roman Polanski is a Polish film director, producer, writer and actor. Having made films in Poland, Britain, France and the USA, he is considered one of the few truly international filmmakers. Roman Polanski's IMDB and list of films can be found here.

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Jean Marc
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