Venus in Fur
Venus in Fur is the work of a master at the height of his abilities. It is nothing short of a masterpiece. To see the dynamism of two characters sparring with each other in one location and that it remains interesting throughout is a testament to great writing, acting, and directing...the power of cinema.
The subtext going on between the two main characters, Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner) and Thomas (Mathieu Amalric), could be aptly called "Venus Inferred". There is always the question of what is real and what is not. What is a joke and what is a truth? Are they both? Aren't the most devastating bon mot born from the most tragic realities? The see-saw between them happens so quickly that it would take multiple viewings to gather together each riposte and examen them: a premise, perhaps, for future commentary.
The crux of the story is that an actress, who may be Venus (the goddess) herself, visits a lowly playright, who aims (consciously or unconsciously) to rebrand the sexism of the 18th century into a play for the 21st century, to audition for the lead role. She outwits him at every turn, all while he believes he has the upper hand, to his embarassing result.
The denoument of having made him believe she's the perfect actress for the part a man wrote for her, only to leave him more vulnerable than a woman ever could be, was genius. We never know for sure what sins Thomas is reaping his karmic reward for, but we sense enough perversion in his allusions to know that Vanda's treatment of him is more than just.