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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Venus in Furs
Venus in Furs
CAV // Unrated // January 30, 2001
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Gil Jawetz | posted August 14, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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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 generations of 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 creative.

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.

VIDEO:
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.

AUDIO:
The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is clear, if subtle. There are also subtitles in French, English, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Danish and Japanese.

EXTRAS:
An interactive pressbook is included with a good deal of information on the production and its literary predecessor, however, the text is far too small for a normal size television.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
A thoughtful, if somewhat pretentious, film about love and obsession, Venus in Furs is successful in creating a striking atmosphere that helps add texture to the film. Although not recommended for those allergic to nudity, fans of serious literary adaptations and moody, quiet drama should take a look at Venus in Furs.

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