Like his 2011 feature Carnage, Roman Polanski's Venus in Fur is adapted from a play (this time by David Ives). It is even more pared down and claustrophobic.
There are only two characters. The film is almost entirely set within the theatre where a jaded director (Amalric) has just spent a frustrating day auditioning 35 lousy actresses for a play. Vanda (Signer) barges in and demands that she be allowed to read too.
Thus begins a prolonged sparring match between them in which the erotic tension rises. Seigner (Polanski's wife) shows swagger and flamboyance as the femme fatale who brings out the director's masochistic side.
Like Emil Jannings in thrall to Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel, Amalric's director is a figure of comedy and pity – and seems to relish his own sexual humiliation at the hands of this unlikely Venus. Polanski certainly enjoys showing his suffering.