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The Duke of Burgundy
by Nancy Tilitz

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.