David Ives is one of the more amusing playwrights the 20th century. His time shifting “ancient history”was only improved by the big breakthrough all in the timing both of which set standards for modern face matched only by Alan Ackroyd.
I missed David”s last play, a partial adaption of Marquis von Sader-Masoch masochistic novel “Venus In Furs”. A director is auditioning for a staged infection of the novel when a Venus shows up. They act out the play with somewhat unpredictable results.
The novel was in German, the play was in English, Roman Polanksi’s motion picture production is in French. Starring Roman’s wife Emmanuelle Singer as this struggling actress and Mathieu Amalric as the director, Roman films the entire movie in a theatre at the dead of night as the director Thomas Novachek allows actress Vanda Jordan to audition. As the duo perform the play, they switch roles and consider the possibilities of sexuality and slavery mimicking the novel.
A feminist revenge parable is stuck on to the end of the movie -Ives idea but relentlessly irrelevant, but it doesn’t matter because Polanski obviously made the movie as an acting tour de force for his wife and Emmanuelle makes a high octane Venus, navigating the sexually charged role play with a sparking self aware hot heat. Dressed in lingerie and flashing a nipple or reclining on a sofa while Thomas zips her thigh high boots in a daze of desire, the moral appears to be we are all Emmanuelle’s slaves.
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