The Duke of Burgundy
The new film from Peter Strickland, director of the acclaimed Katalin Varga (2009) and Berberian Sound Studio (2012) is an intensely erotic melodrama that’s already received huge praise at early festival screenings.
We follow Cynthia, (Sidse Babett Knudsen) a lepidopterist (the title of the film refers to a rare type of butterfly) who seems to treat her newly hired housekeeper Evelyn (Chiara D’Anna) with dismissive cruelty.
In time we discover that they are entwined in a very curious, very particular sexual S&M relationship which Strickland invites us to view, but not judge.
Despite the explicit sex scenes, this is a beguiling, tender film with a heightened sense of emotion, and also a very cerebral picture, confirming Strickland as one of the UK’s most ambitious and intellectually exploratory filmmakers.