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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Venus in Fur aka "La Vénus à la fourrure" [Blu-ray]


(, 2013)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: R.P. Productions

Video: Artificial Eye



Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:35:41.736

Disc Size: 32,461,625,175 bytes

Feature Size: 28,905,209,856 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.81 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 28th, 2014



Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio French 1716 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1716 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
LPCM Audio French 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit



English (burned-in)



Interview with Polanski (12:22)
Trailer (1:41)





Description: Alone in a Parisian theatre after a day of auditions, director Thomas (Mathieu Amalric) is complaining over the phone to his fiancée about the poor quality of the actresses. As he prepares to leave Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner) suddenly appears: an unbridled and brazen whirlwind of energy who embodies everything Thomas hates. But when Thomas finds himself backed into a corner and lets her try her luck, he is amazed to see Vanda transformed. Not only has she found the right props and costumes, but she understands the character (whose name she shares) intimately, and knows all her lines by heart. The "audition" lengthens and intensifies, and Thomas's attraction starts to develop into an obsession.

The new film from iconic master director Roman Polanski, this rigorously intelligent, frequently hilarious investigation into the structures of power, the nature of desire and the importance of art is set to be a dinner party talking point for years to come.



The Film:

Roman Polanski adapts David Ives Tony Award-winning Broadway play about a frustrated theater director whose growing obsession with a volatile actress signals the start of an unexpected power shift. Exhausted after a day of unsuccessful auditions for the female lead in his play exploring the volatile relationship between a domineering mistress and her willing male subject, writer/director Thomas (Mathieu Amalric) broods over his lack of success when tempestuous actress Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner) blows into the theater like a sweltering summer storm. Though at first reluctant to give the overly-assertive and questionably-talented actress an audition, Thomas eventually relents. Subsequently captivated by her intense erotic energy, he gradually begins to realize she was more prepared than initial appearances suggested, and that she's perfect for the role. Yet in his spellbound state, Michael fails to notice that Vanda - who even shares the same name as her fictional counterpart - has slyly managed to turn the tables on him and before long their relationship begins to strike an eerie parallel with those of his impassioned characters.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Venus in Fur,” Roman Polanski’s nimble film adaptation of the play by David Ives, might provoke a lively post-viewing argument. Is it about sex or power? Art or life? The nature of theater or the logic of desire?

Why choose? And why exclude the possibility that the movie is also about Mr. Polanski himself? Working from a French translation of the play (which was widely acclaimed when it ran on and off Broadway a few years ago), Mr. Polanski has marked the text with his own fingerprints. One of the two characters — the splendidly volatile Vanda, an actress — is played by Emmanuelle Seigner, his wife. Her foil — a writer and theater director named Thomas — is played by Mathieu Amalric in a performance that is very close to a Polanski impersonation. Has Mr. Amalric’s stature grown shorter, his nose pointier, or do his haircut and manner simply create the illusion that we are watching a slightly older incarnation of the guy who sliced Jack Nicholson’s nostril in “Chinatown”?

Excerpt from A.O. Scott at the NY Times located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Venus in Fur gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Artificial Eye.  It is dual-layered with a very high bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. The film is very dark and the 1080P handles it easily without noise of artifacts. Contrast exhibits solid black levels and colors are relatively muted in the 2.39:1 frame.  It's, predictably, pristinely clean showcasing some hi-def detail in close-ups and there are really no flaws with the rendering. This Blu-ray provides a flawless replication of this simple production - probably looking very similar to the theatrical appearance. All good.



















Audio :

The AE Blu-ray of Venus in Fur offers a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 1716 kbps or the option of a 2.0 channel LPCM stereo at 1536 kbps. It has hints of separation but everything is of a subtle nature with only a couple of more aggressive instances. Aside from minor effects we get a sparsely utilized score is by Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom, The Ghost Writer, The King's Speech) There are, unfortunately, burned-in English subtitles (?) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.


Extras :

Supplements include a moderately interesting interview with Polanski, about the film, for about a dozen minutes and a trailer.



Polanski does another simple, chamber-like, piece (see his Carnage) with interpretational use of language. Yes, there are overtones of sex, power, curiosity and more.  The Artificial Eye Blu-ray provides a strong 1080P a/v presentation. Those fascinated by the director's body of work will surely want to indulge. This is a film worthy of re-visitation. Absolutely recommended! 

Gary Tooze

July 23rd, 2014


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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Gary W. Tooze






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