The Duke of Burgundy: DVD Review
Released by Madman Home Ent
The Duke of Burgundy, from director of Berberian Sound Studio Peter Strickland, sees the highs and lows of a dominant and her submissive relationship explored - and produces something intoxicating and almost dream-like throughout.
Borgen star Sidse Babett Knudsen and Chiara D'Anna star as the lovers here, but the film's not interested in producing material to shy away from, preferring instead to concentrate on the intricacies of relationships and exploring how long term situations potentially alienate those within.
Encased in this proposition is a wealth of imagery, of style and a repetition of sequences that lead you to question your place in viewing all of this. It all has a habit of going nowhere very stylishly and slickly, but the psychological burn builds to an inevitable climax. Its fetish feel - aloof and occasionally cold – makes it a film to wallow in and to let the rhythms of the story wash over you.
It's almost hypnotic, trance-like and quite endearing in a weird way. Both Knudsen and D'Anna rarely interact with others on a one-to-one basis and the claustrophobia of what builds within feels very natural, real and absolutely stifling.
Strickland's lost none of his eye for the stark imagery and sound - particularly a sequence where lepidoptery comes to the fore as an audience listens to a lecture. With the sounds of butterflies amplified through speakers and a camera panning across the audience who are in their very thrall, it's a perfect allegory for the very sophisticated The Duke of Burgundy; it keeps you captivated from beginning to end, with disorientating trips along the way.