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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Review - The Duke of Burgundy

Director: Peter Strickland - U.K. 2014

British director Peter Strickland spoke at the FilmFest Hamburg 2015 after the viewing of his film saying he inherited some money and could not decide between buying some London property or making this his third film – and he thinks he made the wrong decision, (would have been able to do the film later and still have a home). Now he is stuck in Hungary where this soft porn film, his homage to Euro pornos of the ‘70’s, was made (to look like the French countryside), and can’t afford the move back.

There are no men in this film, as Mr. Strickland said it is becoming more normal to take away the male in these exploitation films. So the “Duke” in the title is his way to acknowledge men. The film is about two people who have different ways to express themselves sexually, and how to reconcile.

The star of this film is the pinastri, a patterned moth found in pine woods (moth is a reference to male and female genitals). A main character is a professor who specializes in this species. Although the acting is wooden and repetitive, there is a wonderful fluttering moth sequence, Strickland’s tribute to the important American experimental film director Stan Brakhage, noted for his expressiveness and lyricism, and among his creative techniques painted directly onto the film celluloid. The sequence is worth the wait. (Nancy T.)

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