Venus in Fur ★★★★

A double down on the meta from the intertextual (Sacher-Masoch's novel) and the extratextual (Polanski's own life). After Carnage's uncomfortable shouting that felt mostly monotonous to me in both the way Polanski wields the camera and the lack of narrative shift (Dargis's line "George and Martha times two" has stuck with me), Polanski is gifted with a text more applicable to both his themes but really himself. He casts a Mathieu Amalric who blatantly resembles the director crica The Tenant and his own wife in the role of Master-Slave; not as a wink but as a starting point.. The opening tracking shot through the comically oppressive storm outside the CGI theater is the horizontal eye to Rosemary's God's eye dive into the apartment, while Polanski's camera subtly shifts the staging and direction by emphasizing the power of Singer's legs and breasts swallow the frame over Amalric. In the same way The Ghost Writer relied on deep focus staging and composition to create a paranoid environment, Polanski's camera movements rarely announce themselves, which is perfect for a text where Amalric doesn't realize his manipulation until its too late.

Amalric suggests over and over that his own interest in the text is completely outside his own interests, which strikes me as a specific meta-commentary on the way Polanski's films have been treated all too regularly as if it was the only interpretation to be made (how many reviews of The Ghost Writer avoided mentioning the allusions between the house and Polanki's own situation, despite the timeline not making sense). And so what are we left with them? Polanski succumbing to his own personal allusions?—his interest in younger women, or in being a perverse dude into weird shit, or simply feeling like a slave to greater forces that confirm his paranoia. Does that make Singer the public at large?—all too happy to push and pull him and by the end chain him up? The changed ending thus becomes the necessary indulgence, the nude body Amalric has desired to see all film, but only under the circumstance that it his own prison. Tragedy and triumph in one.

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