Forget 9 1/2 Weeks, forget Last Tango in Paris, forget Secretary and most definitely forget 50 Shades, this is THE definitive cinematic essay on a dom/sub relationship.
The idea is a fascinating and brave one: to create an homage to artistic elements of the "disreputable" sexploitation movies of the 1970s and make it beautiful and profound. It's another movie that full of references to other movies and to the movie-making process. I recognised only little hints of Just Jaekin, being unfamiliar with the other influences. I did spot the marker tape on the carpet that serve two purposes, practical and metaphorical. Er.. three, there are two metaphors going on, I think, one plot-related and one post- modern commentary.
Talking of plot, it is so slight that it could be explained in three sentences. I won't, obviously, but honestly it wouldn't matter if I did. What matters is the manner of the telling.
The story inhabits a strange dream-like space where everyone in the town is a fetishistic female entomologist! (If anyone can explain the significance of the entomology, please do, I'm all ears!) But within the unreal external world, the two heroines inhabit an emotional world that is utterly believable.
In sumptuous but slightly muted autumn colours, the film looks gorgeous. I found it sensual, very erotic (despite there being no more than a few seconds of anything you could call "sex" and no nudity at all), emotionally engaging, warm, sad, funny and REAL.
Although the story deals exclusively with dominance and submission (no trace of S&M despite what it says in all the publicity, including in interviews with the director) it is a universal story about conflicting desires, fantasies, trust and compromise. In some way, it is a story for every relationship.
I absolutely loved this film.
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