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818 Ratings

The Duke of Burgundy

Directed by Peter Strickland
United Kingdom, 2014


Cynthia and Evelyn inhabit an exclusively female world. Their love for each other is expressed through ritual sado-masochist role-play. Cynthia, the cool ice queen, seemingly dominates the obliging, submissive Evelyn.

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The Duke of Burgundy Directed by Peter Strickland
Its point is not strictly to induce shudders, nor to pay homage, but to relate a romance of utmost tenderness. Its Möbius strip structure doesn’t point toward nihilistic gloom; counterintuitively, it demonstrates how relationships (kinky lesbian relationships especially) can break and mend. Strickland musters all the opulently sinister excesses at his disposal for the sake of vulnerability and sexual candor.
December 31, 2015
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What we’re watching isn’t so much a film about unusual sexual practices as it is one about the way all relationships mutate, about how a person we imagine to be one way can become, over the course of time, someone different. That’s not an original idea, by any means. But, not unlike the old movies it appropriates, The Duke of Burgundy reinvents that idea to the point where it feels like a revelation.
September 29, 2015
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This entomological counter-story is merely a detour that allows Strickland to point to a subject that he never tackles openly—only addressing it from a safe comfort-zone. He generates an arty respectability denied to the sexploitation flicks constituting one of his principal reference points—films that, at least, were honest enough to deal with sex and eroticism without avoiding their depiction.
June 21, 2015
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