VENUS IN FURS Aka : Devil In The Flesh **** West Germany / Italy / Switzerland 1969 87 mins
“You’re too beautiful to belong to one man…” someone observes in Massimo Dallamano’s haunting, hypnotic mood piece, set to an appropriately dreamy and gorgeous none-more-60’s soundtrack and featuring two memorable performances by Laura Antonelli and Regis Vallee. He’s Severin, a polo-neck wearing loner who watches writhing blonde beauty Wanda (Antonelli) routinely stripping and wriggling around on furs through a peephole. They enter into a sadomasochistic relationship encompassing flagellation and role-play (notably, posing as her chauffeur to pick up random men – usually with porn star moustaches – for her to screw in the back of the car). Slowly, his sanity crumbles as their fantasy-driven existence starts to have a negative impact. This showcases wall to wall sex with the staggeringly hot, usually naked Antonelli as a woman who demoralises our fragile hero into an insanity of his own creation. Clever techniques contrast the lush widescreen shots of sun kissed natural beauty in the first half with the discordant audio and oppressive p.o.v. shots in the latter stages depicting Severin’s descent into violent fantasy, culminating in a still BBFC-censored rape. Erotic and unnerving, it’s a picture well worth revisiting.
Review by Steven West