The Duke Of Burgundy
Burgundy Is The Sadomasochistic Colour by Dave O’Flanagan
Reading-born director Peter Strickland’s vintage erotic melodrama is a beguiling oddity; an unusual and ethereal film about love and fetishism. Wildly, almost unashamedly inaccessible, it’s an unlikely companion piece to 2012’s excellent Berberian Sound Studio. Once again proving himself a master of mood, The Duke of Burgundy is a rich and glossy smothering of sensory and aural overload. Opening like a schlocky 70’s glamour porn film, the inclusion of “Perfume by” in the opening titles illustrates a keen sense of self awareness. Strickland’s film has a wicked sense of humour infused throughout, and it’s just as well, because it’s equal measures dark and wicked. The cyclical sexual power-struggle of the central pairing is compelling, but it’s the tender love story underneath that makes for a winning fusion. Sidse Babett Knudsen and Chiara D’Anna are the perfect paradox in their respective roles, with D’Anna in particular magnificent as the insatiable, overzealous and cunning Evelyn. Unlike almost any other film released in 2014, Strickland’s film will be unequivocally divisive. Evoking Lynch, Polanski and Buñuel, it’s a boldly unique film from an exciting British filmmaker; quite mad, quite funny, and quite brilliant.
The Duke of Burgundy is showing on Oct 9th, 10th & 19th at the 58th BFI London Film Festival.