Only two actors, one setting, and it is in French with English subtitles.
Venus in Fur
Here are three facts about this film that are worth noting. Only two actors, one setting, and it is in French with English subtitles. If this is not your ideal film concept then stop now. But if like me you enjoy this genre from time to time then I would encourage you to give VENUS IN FUR serious consideration. Especially since you have two actors who work so perfectly together and Roman Polanski in the directors seat.
Thomas (Mathieu Amalric) is a director/playwright frustrated with trying to cast his female lead. When Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner) shows up late for auditions she must try and convince Thomas that she would be perfect for the role. Thomas thinks she is off her rocker and just wants to call it a day and head home. When he finally relents and lets her read for the part he discovers that there may be more to this woman than he ever could have imagined. Not only does she seem destined for the part but has an insight into the character and Thomas himself that is almost eerie.
It is fitting that a film about a theater audition would have the look and feel of an actual stage play. The choice of having only two actors is risky but the talent of Amalric and Seigner pays off. Emmanuelle gives an award winning performance and goes back and forth from frantic actress to strong muse like flipping a switch.She has strong dramatic chops but also an insightful comic timing. She has to play two characters in the movie. Both the auditioning actress and the character she is auditioning for. She is so confining as both and can quickly turn from one to another.
Amalric on the other hand is caught in the wake of her performance and like the radiance he gets wrapped up in her character.Thomas finds Vanda intoxicating and to watch them together is believable and enjoyable. Like watching a well choreographed dance mixed with an intense tennis match. They move about the stage fluidly sparring one moment and embracing their art the next. The script is well written and worthy of the actors. Like Thomas you keep wondering who exactly Vanda is. And it is fun to watch it all unfold.
Venus in Fur is unrated but intended for adult audiences. The language, adult themes, and mature content is geared toward older viewers. Fans of foreign dramas with convincing acting will enjoy it tremendously. I give it 4 out of 5 dog collars but only for the art house attendees.