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Venus in Furs

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19691h 27m35 views

Based on the infamous novel by Leopold Sacher-Masoch this fine film follows the perverted passions of a young couple as Severin watches the beautiful Wanda writhing naked amongst furs. His disturbing peeping tomism triggers off a whirlpool of emotions due to a childhood episode which punishes voyeurism with pain.

In trashy director Jesus Franco’s erotic, campy thriller/horror film – a lushly-visualized, dreamlike, psycho-sexual film noted as “A Masterpiece of Supernatural Sex”, about a vengeful and malevolent femme fatale in a zone between life and death – a film that undoubtedly had a great influence on David Lynch:

the opening bookending sequence set on an Istanbul Black Sea beach, where jazz musician trumpeter Jimmy Logan (James Darren) was searching for his buried musical instrument case in the sand (“I tried not to remember why I buried my horn. It was like burying my life. But I had to find it, dig it up and keep running. Musicians will understand. A guy like me without a horn is like, well, a man without words”); after he found it and began playing his trumpet, he discovered in the surf the naked, mutilated blonde female corpse of Wanda Reed (Maria Rohm), wearing only panties and purple garters; after dragging her to the sand from the water, he noted: “She was beautiful, even though she was dead”; he observed a deep slicing cut above her left breast; he tried to recall when he had last seen her: “There was a connection between us. Maybe it was that jet-set party? Was it last week… or last month… or last year? When you don’t know where you’re at, man, I’ll tell ya, time is like the ocean. You can’t hold onto it”
the scene of Jimmy remembering a jet-set party where he had played, when he watched as a trio of sadistic, bourgeois individuals whipped, raped, and dagger-stabbed the unwilling Wanda at a decadent party’s rough sex game held in the basement, and then vampiristically drank her blood: millionaire, kinky playboy Ahmed Kortobawi (Klaus Kinski) stabbed her after middle-aged pianist and art dealer Percival Kapp (Dennis Price) and bitchy, lesbian fashion photographer Olga (Margaret Lee) had brutalized her; in voice-over, Jimmy thought: “I told myself it was none of my business but maybe I split because I was just as sick as they were, but couldn’t face up to it”; he even pondered as he played his trumpet on the beach that he himself might be dead: “How can you run from a dead person unless you’re dead yourself?”
Jimmy’s escapist travels to Rio de Janeiro (during Carnivale), to play a gig in a nightclub and to be with his dark-skinned, soul singer girlfriend/lover Rita (Barbara McNair); there, he became entranced after he witnessed the mysterious, supernatural return of a woman who resembled Wanda – she appeared naked under a mink coat (“Venus in Furs”); he made love to her, and spoke about her strange behavior when she said she didn’t know who or where she was: “Oh, I see. No names, no dates, and no stories. This is the beginning of the end”; she responded: “For me, everything ended a long time ago”

the three lethal, ‘avenging angel’ ethereal appearances of “Venus in Furs” (Wanda in a dark wig and fur coat, but mangled and in a post-mortem state), first in the mirror-lined room of piano-playing Percival, causing his death from sexual overstimulation (he watched as she touched her own breasts) and a heart attack
the lesbian love-making scene between Wanda and Olga, and then a topless photo-shoot followed by more love-making, when Wanda’s face suddenly reverted to her true, dead state; guilt-ridden about killing Wanda, Olga slit her wrists in a bathtub (and folded her arms over her breasts) while begging for forgiveness from Wanda for murdering her (“Please forgive me, please”)
the haunting image of Wanda walking down stairs after committing Olga’s avenging murder, dragging her fur coat behind her
the film’s supernatural sub-plot after Wanda and Jimmy returned to Istanbul: Ahmed told a tale, seen in re-enactment, about an ancient Turkish caliph or sheik who enjoyed torturing an ancient slave girl, until she reversed the situation and sado-masochistically tortured him as her slave for 24 hours (“Now, you have to obey me”); as Wanda and Ahmed acted out the tale of master/slave, Ahmed was bound up and was masochistically hanged to death by a rope (after also seeing a vision of Wanda’s dead face)
in the cheap plot twist ending, it was revealed that Wanda was indeed dead; Jimmy located her burial cemetery and grave site, with a sad eulogy etched on her gravestone (and her fur coat draped over it); the eulogy read: “WANDA REED: A young beautiful stranger washed on to our friendly shores, with only death as a companion. May she find peace in her final resting place”; there were also glimpses of Olga, Ahmad, and Percival locked in a red room with Wanda’s savaged corpse on the floor
in a repeat of the opening sequence, as Jimmy was walking along the Istanbul beach-shore again while playing his trumpet, he discovered a body washed onto the sand – it was his own corpse (he exclaimed: “Oh, my God, it’s me! I’m dead! I’ve been dead all the time!”)
after a zoom pull-back, the final image – the use of John Donne’s sonnet quote that ended Val Lewton’s The Seventh Victim (1943): “I run to death, and death meets me as fast and all my pleasures are like yesterday.”

BUY NOW: Venus In Furs

Genre: (1950-1969), 1969, Bare breasts, Drama, Female Nudity, Nudity

Director: Massimo Dallamano

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