Venus in Fur
Members-only Free Screening.
Monday, June 30 at 7:00pm
Film Society members can reserve their tickets by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the title "VENUS IN FUR" and include your full name in the body of the email message. Your name, plus one guest will be added to a will call list at the door. Seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. It's recommended you arrive early to guarantee a seat.
Based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway play by David Ives, which itself was based on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s groundbreaking novella, Venus in Fur is the latest film from master filmmaker Roman Polanski. Alone in a Paris theater after a long day of auditioning actresses for his new play, writer-director Thomas (Mathieu Amalric) complains that no actress he’s seen has what it takes to play the lead female character: a woman who enters into an agreement with her male counterpart to dominate him as her slave. Thomas is about to leave the theater when actress Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner) bursts in, a whirlwind of erratic - and, it turns out, erotic - energy.
At first she seems to embody everything Thomas has been lamenting. She is pushy, foul-mouthed, desperate and ill-prepared - or so it seems. When Thomas finally, reluctantly, agrees to let her try out for the part, he is stunned and captivated by her transformation. Not only is Vanda a perfect fit (even sharing the character's name), but she apparently has researched the role exhaustively, learned her lines by heart and even bought her own props. The likeness proves to be much more than skin-deep. As the extended "audition" builds momentum, Thomas moves from attraction to obsession until, with Vanda taking an ever more dominant role, the balance of power shifts completely.
Born in Paris to Polish parents on August 18, 1933, Roman Polanski grew up in Poland. In 1941, his father was deported to the Manthausen labour camp in Austria and his mother to Auschwitz. She never came back. Roman Polanski was taken in by a series of Polish families.
He found his father after the war and made his first steps as an actor at the age of 14 in the popular Wesola Gromadka radio show. As a teenager, he appeared in the film THREE STORIES and played various small parts in several Polish films including A Girl has Spoken, The Innocent Charmers and Samson by Andrzej Wajda.
In 1955, he was accepted on for the Lodz National Film School directing program. He was still a student when he made his first short films, including Two Men and a Wardrobe in 1958 and When Angels Fall in 1959, which received awards at various festivals. He was then hired as assistant director to the French director Jean-Marie Drot, who was filming a series of documentaries about Polish culture. From 1959 to 1961, he worked in Paris and directed and acted in another short film, The Fat and the Thin, before returning to Poland and shooting another short film in 1962, THE the Critics Award at the Venice Film Festival and was shortlisted for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Repulsion was his first film in English, in which he directed Catherine Deneuve, in 1965. It won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Cul-de-Sac, his next film, won him the Golden Bear. Polanski then directed and played the lead in The Fearless Vampire Killers, before directing his first American film, ROSEMARY'S BABY, one of his biggest commercial hits. In 1972, he returned to Europe to shoot his adaptation of Macbeth.
In the same year, he produced Weekend of a Champion by Frank Simon, a documentary about Jacky Stewart, the racing driver. The following year, he directed Marcello Mastroianni in What?
In 1974, he returned to Hollywood and made Chinatown, which won a Golden Globe and received 11 Oscar nominations. In 1976, he shot The Tenant in Europe with Isabelle Adjani and Shelley Winters. Tess, three years later, won three Oscars and two Cesars (Best Director and Best Film). In 1984, he wrote his autobiography, Roman by Polanski, which became a bestseller in several countries.
In 1986, he directed Pirates, an adventure comedy with Walter Matthau. His next film, Frantic, a thriller with Harrison Ford, also starred Emmanuelle Seigner, who would then appear in BITTER MOON with Hugh Grant and Peter Coyote and The Ninth Gate with Johnny Depp and Lena Olin. In 1994, he directed Death and the Maiden, based on the play by Ariel Dorfman, with Sigourney Weaver and Sir Ben Kingsley. He was also elected to the Académie de Beaux-Arts.
In 2002, he made THE PIANIST, based on the memoirs of the pianist Wladislaw Szpilman. The film was hailed around the world and won a slew of awards, including three Oscars, the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and seven Cesars.
In 2005, Polanski made OLIVER TWIST, adapted from the novel by Charles Dickens, with Sir Ben Kingsley playing Fagin.
In 2009, he made THE GHOST WRITER, based on the novel by Robert Harris, with Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall and Olivia Williams, which won Best Director at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival. The same year, he made CARNAGE, based on the play by Yasmina Reza with Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly.
For the stage, Roman Polanski has directed “Lulu”, the opera by Alban Berg, at the Spoletto Festival, Verdi’s “Rigoletto” at the Munich Opera and “Les Contes d’Hoffman” by Offenbach at the Opera Bastille. In 1981, he directed and performed in “Amadeus” by Peter Schaffer, first in Warsaw, then in Paris. In 1988, he played the lead in Stephen Berkoff's adaptation of Kafka's classic, “The Metamorphosis”. He directed the musical “Tanz der Vampire” in 1996 in Vienna, with music by Joim Steinman and a book by Michael Kunze, based on THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS. Since then he has directed “Master Class” by Terrence McNally and Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler” in Paris.
As an actor, he has worked with other directors on several occasions. In particular, he has starred opposite Gérard Depardieu in Giuseppe Tornatore's A Pure Formality and in ZEMSTA, directed by Andrzej Wajda.