Venus In Fur
An actress attempts to convince a director how she's perfect for a role in his upcoming production.
Roman Polanski’s micro comedy/drama Venus in Fur is a fascinating and playful film about sexual politics and the power play between a director and actor. Emmanuelle Seigner stars as Vanda: a seemingly brash and incapable actress who turns up late to an audition at a small Parisian theatre. Drenched from the downpour outside and dressed inappropriately for the period role, she tries to convince the shows director Thomas (Mathieu Amalric) that she is perfect for the part. He begrudgingly lets her audition, and to his amazement Vanda seems to understand the character perfectly: almost a little too well as the audition intensifies and turns into obsession.
90 minutes. Two actors. One stage. That’s all there is to Venus in Fur, making it rather incredible that I was unable to take my eyes off it for the entirety of its duration. Seigner and and Amalric are sensational as the two leads wrestling with one of the most talkative scripts I’ve ever seen. But they digest it with ease, and it’s obvious by their performances their having immense fun with the impeccably witty dialogue. One of the joys the film has is constant tonal shifts from various interruptions during the audition: whether it’s Thomas’ phone disturbing a scene or Vanda sternly criticising the dialogue of her character, the film often full-stops just to show something unimportant to great comic effect. I wouldn’t watch Venus in Fur expecting belly laughs, but the twisted nature of the power game being staged before your eyes is nigh on impossible not to grin at.
If there were any criticisms to be given, I would say I found the ending a little pretentious and mostly unsatisfying: a great shame considering the quality of the rest of the film. Searching for further problems, the snappy fast paced dialogue comes with a downside to those of us unable to speak French: It is at times hard to keep up with the actors, and while this is only a very minor flaw, it should be mentioned. But on the whole Venus in Fur is a highly enjoyable, well acted little film that when it was over, had me wondering where the time had gone.
Wonderfully simple in its set up
Snappy dialogue is throughly engaging
Sensational performances from the two leads
Occasionally difficult to keep up with the hyperactive French speaking