It's tough to make a film that's sensual and erotic without coming off as
ponderous and pretentious.
The makers of Venus in Furs (1994) have attempted to go back to the
source, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's classic piece of
literature about an obsessed relationship that has influenced
films like Double Suicide, In the Realm of the Senses, and
The End of
the Affair since it was published in 1869. By allowing the film to
unfold visually and with minimal dialog,
writing/directing team Victor Nieuwenhuijs and Maartje Seyferth use
images to tell the story. This was
a good decision, given the fact that their cinematography is their
strongest asset. The black and white images are luminous and beautiful.
While the sets and locations occasionally give the film the look of a
high-budget student film, the textures, angles, and lighting are always
Venus in Furs features a good deal of nudity, much of it presented in a casual way. The willingness of the actors to open
themselves up like that helps portray the emotional rawness of the characters. Even when the film seems a too introspective there is still a sense of desperation shared by the leads that helps ground the film in real emotions.
As I've stated, the cinematography is very sophisticated and beautiful. The print used shows some dirt but nothing fatal. The non-anamorphic
transfer was obviously done with care and looks fine.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is clear, if subtle. There are also
subtitles in French, English, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Danish
An interactive pressbook is included with a good deal of information on the production and
literary predecessor, however, the text is far too small for a normal size television.
A thoughtful, if somewhat pretentious, film about love and obsession, Venus in
successful in creating a striking atmosphere that helps add texture to the film.
not recommended for those allergic to nudity, fans of serious literary adaptations and
moody, quiet drama should take a look at Venus in Furs.