The Duke of Burgundy MA 15+
Dominance, bondage and lepidopterology – what more could you want from a love story? Peter Strickland’s third film hums with desire as Sidse Babett Knudsen and Chiara D’Anna create a fluttering cacophony of lovers at play and at odds.
In a world populated solely by women, maid Evelyn submissively serves Cynthia, a professor specialising in butterflies and moths, both professionally and sexually. Any transgression on Evelyn’s behalf is coldly punished by Cynthia in ritualised ways… but who is really in the dominant position of power? A prurient surface gives way to an exploration of a relationship of great respect and caring that is threatening to curdle in the face of out-of-control fantasies.
Lavish in its devotion to evoking the visuals and mood of European softcore sexploitation films of the 1960s and 70s, accompanied by a haunting score by Cat’s Eyes, The Duke of Burgundy is motivated by a powerful sense of sincerity. It is in love with its prickly, conflicted heroines, the films it is devotedly in homage to, and above all with cinema itself.
“It is, I’m fairly certain, quite unlike any other Sapphic S-and-M lepidoptery-themed psychological romance you have ever seen.” – A. O. Scott, The New York Times
The Duke of Burgundy will screen with Peter Strickland’s short film A Metaphysical Education.