Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Duke of Burgundy Review

Who knew the sexiest, most erotic piece of cinema this year would revolve around a character that studies butterflies and moths for a living? 

Sort of like Fifty Shades of Grey except utterly spellbinding and engrossing rather than awful, The Duke of Burgundy is a gorgeous film that flows with elegance and ease despite being about very little and involving punishment as a means to achieve sexual pleasure. The story revolves around two women, Evelyn (Chiara D'Anna) and Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen). Evelyn works as a maid in the home of Cynthia and when the cleaning does not meet her standards, punishment ensues.

A lesbian romance involving bondage gear taking place in a lush setting manages to feel humorous when you consider the rather mundane circumstances that would lead to their sexual satisfaction. Evelyn eventually seems to be scripting out these situations to the point that you can feel the boredom seeping out of Cynthia, but she obliges anyways because she can still see the thrill in her lovers eyes. My words cannot adequately express just how fascinating it is to see a couple attempt to achieve intimacy by one locking the other in a large trunk at night, only for each to then sleep alone. 

Directed by Peter Strickland, The Duke of Burgundy truly soars because of its aesthetic and the hauntingly brilliant imagery that brings some delicious artistry to a seemingly simple work, in regards to the surface narrative at least. Also, none of this works without a fantastic pair of performances from the leads and that is exactly what we get, as no matter how unusual or unsettling their relationship gets, it never feels phony or just trying to push an envelope for shock value. Regardless of what you may consider to be normal or abnormal, sexually speaking, we witness both passion and disconnect, pain and pleasure, sadness and sensuality and it always feels honest and believable, even at its most absurd.

A sublime combination of my ideal teenage dream and a swarming insect nightmare, I could bathe in The Duke of Burgundy again right now. With our current landscape of television and mainstream film seeming to make attempts at pushing sexual boundaries as a means to shock and titillate with little to no storytelling value, it's so refreshing to see eroticism utilized so effectively in such a meaningful way. 



  1. every writer is unique and everyone likes to write something or the other! Yea, you should continue what have you been doing! I checked my profile and I love movies too. In fact, my interests are endless and one of them is certainly watching movies!
    You may check my writing style too at and please do share your honest feedback.
    See ya soon

    1. I will take a look Sheetal, thanks for the kind words and the thoughts, appreciated!


  2. "My words cannot adequately express just how fascinating it is to see a couple attempt to achieve intimacy by one locking the other in a large trunk at night, only for each to then sleep alone." I love this line from your review! Yes, truly fulfilling intimacy isn’t really isn't about sex, sex is only one part - it's more about being understood & accepted, I feel. And finding a film where the brain is treated like an erotic organ is indeed hard to find! (I agree w/ you, why do so many Hollywood films correlate erotic with smut?) Do you have any other films along this vein you’d recommend, btw? I haven't seen this yet, but saw Babett Knudsen in 'Old, New, Borrowed and Blue' which was free on hulu at the time...a happy accident that I clicked on it late at night in the middle of a bout of insomnia. I haven’t been around in a while; like what you’ve done to the place, Scott!

    1. Thank you so much Donna, I appreciate it, and I will have to think about your question regarding recommendations in there because one of the best attributes of this film is that it is difficult to compare. It's intimate and erotic and strangely abstract, like something that would be in the Criterion collection now, released long before I was born.

      I love when I watch something new that feels so out of place in today's cinematic world, the type of movie that you know can never be considered mainstream because too many people would say "What the hell are we watching?" and turn it off 30 minutes in. That's exactly what this is, and I loved it haha.

      Thanks again, appreciate the kind words.

    2. Thanks, Scott. Yes, do let me know if you think of any recommendations because I agree with you, that is the best kind of film! I have a lot of reviews to catch up on...I've missed reading them. Hope you're well!

    3. I am well, same to you. Thank you so much for the support, it is greatly appreciated.

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