Monday, 16 October 2017
Friday, 13 October 2017
Summer softness of skin,
Scent, light, infinity.
Of each cosmic smile.
That exquisitely insinuative nose.
And the chin which so enthrallingly
Mocks and derides.
Arm brushing over arm
In tranquil resonance
Of hungry noontide.
This partisan succour,
Our pastureFor the duration.
Saturday, 30 September 2017
***SPOILERS – SPOILERS – SPOILERS –***
Please do not read this review if you do not wish to know plot developments
When I first started watching this film I found that the sense of artificiality annoyed me, until I realised it was part of the story and then I was able to enjoy the joke. And actually there are a lot of good-humoured jokes throughout, many I probably missed, and at least one I spotted but still do not get – the mannequins dotted about in the lecture audience at the institute; can anyone explain that to me?
All these playful jokes are simply part of the fun in a film which is partly a wry contemporary intellectual comedy, partly a paean to European cinema of the 1960s-70s, and partly a slyly engaging erotic drama.
Cynthia and Evelyn play out their dominant-submissive fantasies in an enclosed, remote and rarefied fantasy world of rambling chateaus, leafy woodlands, dusty academia, lepidopterology (whence the reference to the butterfly called The Duke of Burgundy) and no men. Alongside the minutiae of insect anatomy, life-cycles and communications, the couple’s private role-play takes centre stage as we learn the script they enact and the nuanced variations of the kinky story they repeatedly play out together.
As the film progresses with its hypnotic tempo, delightfully playful soundtrack and mesmerizingly sensuous cinematography (Nicholas D. Knowland), we discover unexpected relationship dynamics between the two leads and notice fractures of jealousies and dissatisfactions creaking across the leisurely surface. Until eventually we find ourselves involved with a real romance, with real issues, for real characters of substance and fragility.
And this is where I feel the film really delivers. Beyond the beautiful and playful surface, I became engaged by the central characters and I found the film proved to have true poignancy and depth.
Even given its playfulness, its subtly fairy-tale like setting and its esoteric cinematic nostalgia, this film ultimately stands as a serious study of a specific relationship, and also of relationship issues more generally.
The excellent performances of the two leads Sidse Babett Knudsen (Cynthia) and Chiara D'Anna (Evelyn) are absolutely pitch-perfect in guiding the audience through the complicated emotional maze of the central relationship and provide us with wonderfully rounded portraits of two flawed and enigmatic central characters; portraits full of wit, sexiness, tenderness and depth.
Director Peter Strickland creates a wonderfully accomplished pervasive atmosphere of warm hues, rich textures, soft light and muted restraint which has the effect of perpetually augmenting an inherent sense of rich eroticism in a film which is never explicit. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with explicitness per se, but it is nevertheless a point to be noted in describing the internal syllabus of The Duke of Burgundy.
Altogether a marvellous adventure for the senses. Witty, thought-provoking, engaging and very sexy. An artistic, erotic and dramatic success.
Thursday, 21 September 2017
Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Saturday, 9 September 2017
Saturday, 2 September 2017
You are a dreamer,
A secretive flitting bird,
A silver goblet,
An approaching storm,
A wayward smirk.
Why do you sing such strange songs,
With melodies askew?
Why do you say you see the sun
Is truly gas-flame blue?
You saunter with such nonchalance,
As if you possess all the unfolding secrets of the lily,
As well as the precise knowledge
Of the wood pigeon’s burdensome lament,
Locked away in heavy summer woodland.
As if you perceive and understand
The whisperings of the ferns
And the maps of the ants
And the solemn, persistent aggravation just underfoot.
As if you feel within your very instinct,
Before even your nerves,
The febrile imprint
Of the moment each particle of dust completes its odyssey
From the shaking cosmos
To the ground around your feet.
Such moments, you advise,
As when you are safe within my arms,
And feel free within my vision,
Like yearning merest breath
Evaporating in the decreasing humidity of an epoch.
You are a dreamer,
And, I rejoice to hear you affirm,
I am helplessly your dream.