Venus in Fur (2013) - full transcript

An actress attempts to convince a director how she's perfect for a role in his upcoming production.


"VENUS IN FUR" AUDITIONS HERE, she doesn't exist

I mean, a sexy young woman

with classical training

and a scrap of brain in her skull

who can say "inextricable" without a coach


Honey, in Vanda's day, at her age,

she'd be married with 5 kids and tuberculosis

She'd be a woman

These days, they sound like
ten-year olds on helium:

It was like, totally like wild

like totally awesome

I've seen 35 idiot actresses

half dressed like hookers, half like dykes

I'd make a better Vanda

Just put me in a dress and a pair of heels


Damn it


Am I too late?

Shit, I'm too late


For "Venus in Fur", everyone's left

I'm so sorry, I was way across town

My phone died

I broke a heel in a sewer cover

See what I mean?

Then this guy on the train

rubs up against my ass

Then it starts to pour

Fuck! Just my luck

Shit, shit, fuck!

Maybe I can rustle up some Valium...

Nah, just my usual luck

Thank you, God, for all the help

By the way, I'm Vanda Jourdain


See what I mean? I've even got her name

You know many Vandas?

I'm made for the part, the train breaks down

some guy tries to fuck me

- And you are? - Thomas Novachek


Hey, wait a minute!

You wrote this

Yes, I did. Well, I adapted it

And you're directing?

Within an inch of its life

I love your plays!

The ones I know, "Anatomy of Shadows"

Amazing, I saw it twice

That's not mine

My bad

I mean the other one

This is awkward

Anyway, this one's awesome. The parts I read

Pretty wild stuff. Really sexy

Or, like, erotic if humiliation's your thing

I'm not usually in leather and a dog collar

I'm really demure and shit

Just thought I'd get into the part

It's S&M?

The play?

Not exactly, and it's set in 1870

Oh, right

I guess this isn't too 1870

Not really

Maybe back then

S&M-ers dressed like this

My headshot and resume

Great, thanks

Where is that...

It's kinda skimpy

But I'm good. I'm made for this part

They said I was amazing as Hedda Gabler

"The Urinal Theatre"?

I somehow missed their season

You had an appointment?

Yeah, two-fifteen

Hours ago, right?



People always ask "Is it a stage name?"

I don't see your name


My agent said it was set up

I'm not on it? Two-fifteen?


Thanks again, God

But now I'm here...

Wait! What are you doing?

I got a costume!

I found this great dress...

Really, don't bother

What? You mean don't read?

I mean don't read

I'm here so let's give it a go

There's no one to read with you

You can read with me

It'd be an honor to read with the author


It'd be cool, straight from the horse's mouth

To tell you the truth, Miss...


We're looking for somebody...Different

What're you looking for? can I put it?

I get it

Save your breath. Someone who's not me

I'm too short, too tall, too old, too young

My resume is crap

Ok, I get the message


This sucks

It's ok

This really sucks

What a shitty day

We'll schedule more auditions soon

But I'm here now, save me another trip

Look, Vanda

I've had a bad day too

I saw a bunch of freaks. One with braces!

You don't want to audition now

I need to relax

My dinner's waiting

I understand. Dinner

It'll be better when I'm fresh

Thanks for coming

Love the outfit, very striking

I'll see you soon

I doubt it but thanks anyhow

You seem nice

It's just this goddam business

Plus 30 euros for the fucking dress

It's real 18-whatever, huh?

Very 18-whatever...

It's her, right? Total Vanda

She'd have a long dress.
They hated their butts back then

That's a misconception...

Let me show you how I look in it

Pretty please

- Yes! - Thank you

Not you. Someone just walked in

I'll pick up some sushi on my way

Can you do me up, please?

Reading with Thomas Novachek!

You're not doing yourself any favors

I'm not an actor

You're perfect, the ideal Kowalski


You're Kushemski

Not exactly

At your service, sir

Where do we start? You choose

Let's try the first scene

You have your sides?

They got messed up

Who gave you the whole script?

I dunno

My agent sent it

How did he get hold of it?

What's the problem?

It's top secret or something?

Doesn't matter

Have you read it?

I flipped through it on the train

It's like based on something

The Lou Reed song?

It's based on an Austrian novel, "Venus in Fur"

by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

I bet

you read it in actual Austrian!

Well, more or less

The book was a huge scandal in 1870

I bet it was, it's S&M porn

It's not S&M porn

It's not porn?

Or porn-ish?

For medieval times, like, 18-whatever?

"Venus in Fur" is a great love story

It's a central text of world literature


Looks like porn to me

I know my sadomasochism

I'm in the theatre

Masochism comes from
Sacher-Masoch because of this book

Masochism, Masoch, I shoulda seen that

So S&M is named after the guy?

That wasn't his goal

Sure, he called it serious,
people called it porn

And you milked the book?

I adapted the book

made up the lines, the scenes

There's a lot of me in it


So where are we, like?

"Like" at an inn

somewhere on the edge
of the Austro-Hungarian Empire

The Austro-Hungarian Empire...Remind me

It's complicated

So it's a fancy inn, huh?

Yes, a health spa for the wealthy

Very luxurious

At curtain-up, Kushemski is reading in his room

with his morning coffee

And knock-knock, Vanda enters

And that's "symbolic" for his character?

He's reading

People still read books

Books made of actual paper

Ouch, you got me

So this guy...What's his name?
Sevran, Savrine...

Severin von Kushemski


What is he, what's he into?

Throw me some adjectives

A rich idler of his times

Intelligent, well-traveled, cultivated

A nerd

If you will

"If you will." I love it!

When did I last hear that?

Distinguished, like you

Want to know about her?

I know her inside out but...

Sure, if you want

I'd say

she's a young woman of her time

Despite her professed principles

Despite what?

Her professed principles

At first sight, she's very proper,
poised and cultivated

No kidding, nothing else?

Anything I don't know?


That's cool, I'll manage

Mind if I change the lights?

The lights?

Kinda glary, right?

Oh please, make yourself at home!

How's that?

Not bad

Hold on...

I wouldn't know which button to push

Much, much better

I guess this is the divan

Yes, that's the divan

A desk

The book she brings back

The postcard, great

And what's this?

A phallic symbol?

It's from the last show here

A Belgian production

"Stagecoach" as a musical

Where do I stand?

Wherever's comfortable

Not so center

Stage left or stage right?


Do you want to read the scene over?

Nah, let's wing it

How far?

To the end of page 3

And then you kick me out?

Let's try that

In other words, yes

I nearly forgot...

These words on page zero...

This quote, like

The epigraph?


"And the Lord hath smitten him
and delivered him into a woman's hands"

It's quoted in the novel

from the Book of Judith

That's the Bible?

The Apocrypha, yes

I'm pretty dumb

It's pretty sexist, huh?

"And the Lord hath smitten him
and delivered him into a woman's hands"

I'm only quoting Sacher-Masoch's novel

Yeah, but you put it on page zero

Never mind, none of my business,
I'm just an actress

I forgot the fur

- She wears a stole? - That's right


Soft fur...

Ok, that's good

Maybe it's not...

Ready when you are


Come in

Herr Doktor Severin von Kushemski?

I'm sorry to disturb you

I'm Vanda von Dunayev

I'm staying in the room above yours

I found this book last night

A copy of "Faust"

with your bookplate inside

It was in the birch grove
by the statue of Venus

Thank you so much

I had just asked the maid about it

I would have sent it but I found

this provocative postcard inside

A Titian, isn't it?


"Venus With Mirror", a favorite of mine

Your Venus seems as well-thumbed

as your book

Is she faithful?

I'm sorry?

To the original

Yes, it's a faithful copy of the painting

I understand your fascination,
the picture's ravishing

Thank you for returning it

I couldn't help noticing
the odd poem on the back

"To Venus In Fur." Did you write this?

It's just a bit of doggerel...

Doggerel, really?

"To love and be loved

"Ah, what bliss

"Yet there exists a greater joy

"The torment of that woman's kiss

"Who makes of me her slave

"Her cur, her toy

"I speak of Her

"My goddess, my dictator

"My Venus In Fur"

Interesting sentiments

If I were you

I'd guard this bookmark well

I appreciate your discretion

Would you like to sit down, Frau Dunayev?

Thank you

May I take your fur?

That's very kind

It's Tartar, isn't it?

Caucasian sable, probably from Kazakhstan

Caucasian sable from Kazakhstan, precisely

Kushemski stares at the fur in his hands

You're trembling, Herr Kushemski!

Yes, please forgive me

May I ring for something?

A coffee would be lovely

Have some of mine

How kind of you

Two sugars, please

He pours her coffee...

I hope I don't disturb you,
trodding in my heels up there

Not at all

Trod in your heels to your heart's content

So you're a poet, Herr Kushemski

Just an amateur

And a trained lover of fur

The love of fur is...

I'll skip that line

No, read it!

The love of fur is innate

It's a passion that Nature gives us all

Come on, get into it!

The love of fur is innate

It's a passion that Nature gives us all

To caress a thick, soft fur

That peculiar tingle, that electricity

I suspect there's more here
than a gift of Nature

Perhaps your mother swaddled
you in sable as a baby?

I'm sorry, I'm prying

Please forgive me


I had an aunt who was passionate about fur

That explains everything

We're all easily explicable

yet remain inextricable


What do you mean?

Life makes us what we are

End of page 3!

So it is

That was good, Vanda

I was just stumbling around

You didn't seem to be

That's good actin' for ya!
I tell you, I'm a pro

It was very good

I'm blushing

It wasn't perfect

No. Sure

Let's read on a little

Then Kushemski has his big speech

and we can skip to...

No, read it! It'll feed my character

- You're good, Thomas - I'm faking it

No, you're really good

Who's your Kushemski?

I have a few possibilities

You should play him

I mean it, you'd be terrific

It's hard

And I put actors through this!

You're the director,
it's your job to torture actors

First-time director

You'd never know

Directors never understand my work

Never get it right...

That's why you're perfect

You can make it right

I have it all in my head

I'll use Alban Berg's
"Lyric Suite" for transitions

Great idea!

You know it?

No! But you see?

You know it inside out, characters and all

For Kushemski, off the top of my head

try something...

An accent or something

He's upper-class

Upper-class, exactly

With a hint of something aristocratic

Is this upper-class enough?

Or is it idiotic?

It is, but it's great

You didn't bring a smoking jacket, did you?

I did

I was kidding

Wanna try it on?

It'll help you. I bet it fits

It's beautiful

Is it real?

They said it's vintage

"Siegfried Mueller,



I didn't notice

40 euros, not bad, huh?

Looks like it was made for you!
How's it feel?

It feels good

A perfect fit

Sure looks good on you

Hello, gorgeous!

How much was the dog collar?

It's from when I was a hooker

Just kidding!

Let me give you a run-up

Perhaps your mother
swaddled you in sable as a baby?

I'm prying, please forgive me

Actually, one of my aunts
had a passion for fur...

This is hard for him


So go for it!

I'm prying, please forgive me


one of my aunts had a passion for fur

That explains everything

We're all easily explicable yet...

we remain inextricable


What do you mean?

Life makes us what we are

in an unforeseen instant

How's the coffee?

I've hardly tasted it but it's excellent so far

That's symbolic, right? He's the coffee

One sip and she's already hooked

Damn, you saw right through me

Have you had an
"unforeseen instant, Herr Kushemski?"

Actually, I have

But I don't wish to bore you

Far from it, I'm enthralled

It's like an English mystery novel

I await the mysterious
aunt who was fond of fur

We can skip the next speech

No, read it, I want to hear

I await the mysterious
aunt who was fond of fur

I was an impossible child

Spoiled and cruel

Tormenting the servants

and our cat

I was also very rude to an aunt of mine

The Countess was a regal woman

Voluptuous and


What's wrong?


Feels strange,
hearing out loud words I wrote

on a screen at 2 am

But you're doing fine

What did your aunt do?

One night, she took her revenge

She came into my room

wearing a long cape of Russian black fox fur

In her hand, she carried a birch cane

freshly cut

She was followed by the cook and the maid

She threw off her fur
and rolled up her sleeves

I tried to escape

but the other two women grabbed me

pulled down my pants
and flung me onto the fur

They held me down
while my aunt laid into me

with the cane

My naked backside and thighs were on fire

The servant women urged her on

and mocked me, calling me a little girl

I struggled

but my aunt kept whipping me

until I begged her to stop

out of mercy

When she finally stopped

she forced me to thank her on my knees

She made me kiss her foot

Then she left the room...

threatening to return

All this witnessed by the two servants

and our cat

From that time on

for me, a fur was never just a fur

nor a birch cane a simple switch

In that brief moment, she made me

the man I am now

Did she return?

In my dreams, yes,
with her black fur and her cane

She still visits me each night

You poor, poor man


She taught me the most precious thing

She taught you what?

That nothing is more sensuous

than pain

Nothing more pleasurable than degradation

The Countess did her work well

She became my ideal

I've sought her replica ever since

and when I meet that woman

I shall marry her

Thomas, that speech is awesome!

Thank you. It took a lot of work

So, actually

this play is, like, all about child abuse

Are you crazy?

What does child abuse have to do with it?

This goddam mania these days!

Everything's a stupid social issue!

Child abuse isn't exactly stupid...

I know but don't be so trite!

This isn't anthropology or sociology

it's a play

Yeah, but...

There's a lot more here

than corporal punishment!

Ok, sorry

This impoverished world we live in!

Why do we always diminish things?

What's next on your list?

Sexism, racism, the class struggle?

You are quite unique, Herr Kushemski

If I were you, I'd be careful

Your ideal woman may
be crueler than you care for

I'm willing to risk that

I know what you are. A supersensualist

An ascetic voluptuary

And you, Frau Vanda von Dunayev,
who or what are you?

I'm a pagan

Meaning I'm young, beautiful, rich

and plan to make the most of that

I'll deny myself nothing

I respect your principles

Excuse me, I don't need your respect

I'll love a man who pleases me and
please a man who makes me happy

But only as long as he makes me happy

Then I'll find another

Nothing is crueler than a woman's infidelity

For a woman there is

Enforced fidelity

Can I move?

Sure, move around

In our society

a woman's only power

is through a man

I'd like to see what Woman will be

when she becomes Man's equal

When she becomes herself

Little Vanda's way ahead of her times


How do you know the lines?

I dunno, I learn fast

You know the play by heart!

You said Vanda's very proper...

despite what?

Her professed principles


She doesn't believe all this?

She says so

Women's rights, blahblah...

So it's all an act?

Why "professed principles"
and not just "principles"?

I liked the alliteration,
"professed principles"

I see

You sold your soul for alliteration

Guilty as charged

Between you and me,
Thomas, you're a bad boy

If I may be so bold, I'd say

you're more than a pagan, you're a goddess

Really? Which one?


Vanda is Venus or am I crazy?

She's Venus in human form

come down to bust his balls

Not really

or not exactly

Ok, I take it back. You wanted it ambivalent

- Ambiguous - Right

It's the same story as "The Bacchae"


What's "The Bacchae" again?

Just kidding. An old play, right?

A very old play, yes

Citizens of Corinth!

Behold this mortal man, Testiculus

cursed for his offenses by the gods

and totally fucked for all eternity!

That kinda play?

More or less

Dionysus comes down

and reduces the proud King of Thebes

to a quaking jelly in a dress

Sounds hot!

After that

the crazed women of Thebes,
the Bacchae tear him to pieces

Dionysus leaves triumphant

Yeah, I think I saw it

Here it's not Dionysus, it's Aphrodite

And she is..?

The Greek Venus

- Same person? - Same goddess

Hail, Aphrodite!

Am I insufferably pedantic?

Yeah, but it's kinda cute

What're we doing?

You are a goddess


Which one?


But Venus could only rule over slaves

So I should find myself one

Would you be my slave,
Herr Doktor Kushemski?

I already am

I've been your slave
since you entered this room


Already in love with me?


I'm suffering as if I'd known you all my life

Subjugate me

Stand up and step away from me

I must say you do intrigue me

I like your frankness, your clarity of thought

Physically, you are not unattractive

But when a man submits to me, I sense a trick

This is no trick. Love me!

You see? Orders already

Marry me

I'm a frivolous woman, Herr Kushemski

You'd have to be very brave to love me

I explained my principles

I don't care, I want you for my wife

You don't know me

- Dominate me - It's absurd

I give you all power over me, eternally

Unconditionally. Do with me what you will

Dominate me, beat me if you like

This is certainly novel

Stand over there

Stand in the center

I'm fine here

You should be there, you're taking power

So take a power position

Try it again

This is certainly novel

It doesn't work

Try it again

I give you all power over me, eternally

Unconditionally. Do with me what you will

Dominate me

beat me if you like

This is certainly novel

You're not trying

You wanted me here, here I am. I said my line

It's only an audition

I want to see

if you can take direction

So do as I say and stand there

I give you all power over me, eternally

Unconditionally. Do with me what you will

Dominate me

beat me if you like

This is certainly novel

It is better!

Keep going

What do you want deep down?

To be your possession

Vanish into your sublime essence

Dress and undress you

Hand you stockings, put shoes on your feet

Have no will of my own

You call that love?

The only kind

In love as in politics

one partner must rule

One must be the hammer, the other the anvil

I willingly accept being the anvil


No, keep going, I love it!

Thomas, the insight, especially about women

You really understand women

Yes, years of study

- Where was I? - Being an anvil


I seek pain and you pleasure

You mustn't defer to anyone's feelings

Use your lover as he'd use you

Rule him, wring him dry

You're incredible

If I can't be your husband,
take me as your slave

Treat me with divine cruelty

Mistreat a man who loves me?

- I'll worship you even more
- I don't want that

All women want worshipping, like our Creator

Create me

Ruin me

Annihilate me

Excuse me

No, I'm still here

Everything's good

I don't know

In a few minutes, I guess

I'll call when I leave

Me too, honey, take care

Yeah, fine


The audition? We'll see

I'm at the temp agency,
they've got something

Typing. A night job in a law firm

They need the contract tomorrow...

I dunno!

We'll see. That's life

That's life, ok


Your other half?

People still say that?

- What's "other half" now?
- I dunno..."Asshole"?


You wonder why I lied

It's none of my business

What does Vanda say? I'll deny myself nothing

I got other fish to fuck, so to speak

So you're the hammer, he's the anvil

What should I say?

"Whatever, baby?"

This isn't love, it's sex

You want sex, you take the rest

That's what the play's about

Is it?

Are you kidding?

I don't know, am I?

Will you stop!

Say what you think for once

Quit pussyfooting around

Shall I make some coffee?

- What? - Are you coming on to me, Tom?

Certainly not

I'm just offering you coffee

Symbolic coffee?

Not at all, real coffee

Would your wife like you
offering me "real" coffee?

I'm not married

I thought from the call...

My Fiancee

Same thing. What would Fiancee think?

Didn't you once say,
"Theatre's a great way to get laid?"

You actually read that!

I was young, it was my first interview

Never been married?


Still living with Mom?

I'm twisted but not that twisted

So fox fur's your thing?

No, love is

You really are twisted

And my woman must be my muse

So Fiancee has wings and everything?

The way I see love

you take the plunge...

Jump right in

Head first

With fireworks, lightning and thunder

Coffee or no coffee?

I could only give myself to
one man for life if he enslaved me

We're not a very good match, Herr Kushemski

We cancel each other out

I say we're made for each other

Don't you feel that, Vanda?

Don't you feel it too?

I propose a trial period

A contract. Call it a business deal

You have one year
to prove you're the man for me

- A year is long... - Let me finish

I beg your pardon

I'll draw up a contract
saying you're my slave for a year

So she had this all planned

She set it up before she came in

You think so?

C'mon, you wrote it

I'm not sure she had this "planned"

I'm not being coy

So you wanted it ambivalent

- Ambiguous - Right

Maybe she's just a horny bitch

I never considered that angle

Maybe it's even more twisted

Be my slave for a year, then you can fuck me

- Ambivalent again? - Ambiguous

For me, well, for Kushemski

you're his last chance, his only chance

Really? To do what?

To live

He wants to know if she's into whips

- He's auditioning her
- She's auditioning him too

He's a perv

and she's an object like
every woman in 18-whatever

Who are you really, Frau Vanda Jourdain?

I'm a pagan

No, I'm serious

You're coming on to me again

Where are you from, what's your story?

I'm an army brat, I grew up everywhere

Where, what cities, what countries?

I'll draw up a contract
saying you're my slave for a year

Your wish is my command

Give me your hand

They shake hands...

There's a Greek officer at the inn

A Greek?

He's from Athens

He rides a snow-white stallion
and wears black leather boots

I want you to get his room number

But, Vanda...

Resisting already?

Forgive me

Wait for me tomorrow in the birch grove
by Aphrodite's statue

At what time?

Wait until I decide to arrive

Very well

And don't come without
the Greek's room number

Now kiss my foot

He kneels and kisses her foot

I love that bit. Bang! "Kiss my foot"

Now put my fur on me


Where will all this end?

That depends on you,
Frau Vanda von Dunayev

Not on me

Thank you for the coffee, slave

Yeah, I'd like some now

Coffee, I mean

Pretty intense.
The handshake was, like, electric

The joys of a repressed age

Conversation itself was erotic

Conversation was all they got

That's not how the book starts

The book?

Where's the first scene?

Venus naked in a fur by the fire

You know the book?

You've read "Venus in Fur"?

I took a look

When you said,
"What's it based on?" you were lying

Ok, to get ahead!

Why didn't you keep that scene?

How could I fit it in?

At the start, before he meets Vanda

You can't do "Venus in Fur" without Venus

Same actress playing both

Naked on stage? For you, no extra charge

I'll think about it

Let's improvise, maybe you'll get some ideas

The lights

Where are we, top of the play?

Kushemski's room

At night. Ok, middle of the night, 2 am

Let's tone this down

A fire going, stage left

Very nice

Let's see, Kushemski is doing what?

I don't know. Reading

Yeah, right

No? Too cliche'd?

He's already reading when he meets Vanda!

We're not the city library

He can be writing his diary

I like it

Ok, I'm Venus

What the hell...

- Imagine me naked

You're a big boy

Pretend I'm Fiancee and improvise

I've never done it before

All the girls say that

But it's true

The fire flickers

We see Venus naked

draped sensually in a fur

So drape me in my fur

You're the director

Sensually, I said

Now sit at your desk

In character!

Write in your diary

Write for real

I am

Out loud! How else do we know who you are?

It's the start of the play

The lights are coming up

All we hear is the sound of an old clock

October 22nd, 1870

2:00 AM

I am staying at a health spa

ringed by forests and mountains

There's no moon tonight

Darkness and silence reign

No, wait, I hear...

A sparrow

A nightingale

The howl of a cat in heat

I feel

so terribly alone




have the Germans invaded again?

I hope I do not disturb

Not at all

Hail, Aphrodite

¤o, you haff not forgotten me?

Forgotten you?

My dearest

and oldest enemy?

You are zo sveet

Von't you kiss my hand?

¤at's better, but Thomas...

Did I say Thomas?

Ja, but Seferin, it's zo cold in here

Effry time I visit you I am catching cold

You zee? Already I have pleggum in ze tubes

But you always strut around naked

But I am Fenus, I must be all ze time naked

It comes mit ze job

Von't you take off those scratchy clothes

and come cuddle mit me?

There's room here, under my fur

No, thank you

I brought zis mink especially for you

>From Olympus. It's heavenly

See ze label? "Made in Olympus"

Why would I

be interested in your fur?

I know your little quirk

Women don't interest you

their fur does

You should marry a raccoon

Better a raccoon than most women I've met

But if I open my thighs unter my mink

you vouldn't vant some love?

Is it love you're offering?

No, it's power

You dare to resist me?

I dare

I'll make you crawl at my feet

I'll make you beg


You're mine already

And you'll be mine for all time


I'll be back

Then, poof, she vanishes!

Not bad, huh?

You could write it up
and stick it in, So to speak

In theory anyhow

I thought

I'd add a little Marlene Dietrich

Yes, great, works beautifully

It shows another side of Kushemski

Yeah, with Venus at night, he says

"No, you bitch"

Next morning with Vanda

"Take me, please!"

We could bring the lights down,
then back up

It's morning, knock-knock

and Venus reappears disguised as Vanda

- To get revenge - Brilliant

So is it you?


He's you

Kushemski-Novachek, Novachek-Kushemski

He's not me

You said there's a lot of you in it

Maybe you're Vanda

The play has nothing to do with me

You're just the writer

Sorry, "adapter"

Like, "If a critic says it's me, I'll kill him"

I can invent characters

Sure, Herr Doktor Novachek

and you happened to find them

in an old S&M novel

It's a famous book

You didn't have an "unforeseen instant"

at age 12?

In the library?


With a cat?


You're still waiting for your...

"great moment"?

I'm not waiting for anything

I find the characters' relationship
absolutely fascinating

Very complex, very rich

Of course

I love the characters' emotional depth

No one experiences this kind of thing nowadays

We no longer see this kind of rage

Meet some of my friends

Ok, fine,

I don't understand a thing

When you get home,
Fiancee doesn't tie you up and whip you?


Ask her, see if Fiancee is up for it

Stop calling her "Fiancee"


What does your
"other half" think of the play?

She's not keen

People might think it's you or her

It isn't me or her

But let me guess about your...


I bet she's younger than you. Good family

Probably grew up in a pretty home

on the coast

Near La Baule

Nantes, actually

But I bet her family
spent weekends at La Baule

In a villa with a garden

She sails

She loves seafood


She's tall

A little bossy, in a nice way

Lots of hair

Long legs

and a nice pair of...


A fine mind

Prep school in Paris

Excellent grades, a degree

a Master's?

Am I close?

She has a Master's

She has a Ph. D.

She's doing a thesis in sociology

She has a dog, let's see...

Maybe a Labrador


He has an intellectual's name



You're very cultivated

I bet she's loaded

A crappy theatre, a Belgian cactus...

It's not the Comedie Fran caise

Her family's rich

Am I right?

Of course I'm right

But, hey, you're an artist

She loves that about you,
loves your sensitivity

Maybe you're the first really
sensitive guy she ever met

She loves books, opera, ballet, that shit

At night, a foreign movie, you discuss novels

before a nice quiet copulation

Nothing like some quiet
copulation to help you relax

But a voice rumbles in the back of your mind

Calling for something else

I don't know what but it rumbles

But, hey, you're happy

You're very, very fond of her

You'll have a nice quiet life

watching foreign movies, discussing novels

and then you'll have kids

and then you'll die

Shall we read on?

Yes, let's read on

The next day in the birch grove?

All right

Here's our statue of Venus

Hail, Aphrodite!

Hail, Aphrodite...

Do you want to read the scene over?

No, Severin

It's not right

All this talk of slavery and domination

You've corrupted me with your words

I think deep down you'd enjoy
controlling a man


Or even torturing him


Admit it

That's not me

- Can't I reason with you?
- Reason be damned

Don't you see?

You'll never be safe in the hands of a woman

Of any woman

That line is so sexist

I could scream!

What's sexist about it?

You'll never be safe in the hands of a woman

It's in the book

So the book is sexist!

No, it's not!

On the contrary, it's...

A central text of world literature?

I didn't mean that

And this?

That ain't Titian, babe

it's S&M porn

The whole thing's one big cliche

In what way?

He gets spanked and suddenly he's into S&M?

It happened to Sacher-Masoch!

- Did it happen to you? - No!

So what do you know?

For me, it's a play about
two people united forever

They're handcuffed at the heart

By perversion

No, by passion

His passion!

This is a chemical reaction

It's a sex and class war

Vanda is a sweet innocent

who meets a total pervert

You don't understand a thing

She says, "You've corrupted me"

Maybe she always had this thirst for domination

Maybe Kushemski brought it out

Maybe she's just a woman

The play's like an old anti-female tract

He makes her play along, then blames her

- It's not that at all - It is!


Take the ending: she gets the Greek to whip him

She dumps Kushemski, dick in hand

and it's her fault when he wanted it?

I think old Kushie's hot for the Greek

How can you be so stupid?

How can you play her so well
and be so fucking stupid about her?

And all the rest!

Fucking idiot actress!

Dumb bitch!

Fucking idiot!

Pain in the ass!

I'm sorry


I'm sorry, I got a little carried away

What's said is said

I guess the play says
beware what you wish for

Because she could come knocking

Don't fuck with a goddess,
that's what it says

If you will

If you will...

What's modern for "if you will"?


If you say so

Good thing goddesses don't exist

or you'd be fucked

Fine, you're right, I take all your points

Can we read on?

Please, Vanda

Don't you see you'll never be safe
in the hands of a woman?

Of any woman?

You and I are adventurers, Vanda

exploring the limits of human nature

You're sick

The Countess poisoned you,
behold the effects

- You love the effects, as I do - No

You love having power over me


Your desires will be my orders

I'll beg, I'll crawl. Make of me what you will

You're a mad visionary, a fanatic

You'll do anything to attain your dream

You are my dream

Break off with me,
Severin, before it's too late

Do you love me?

I don't know

Then find out,
do something to persuade yourself


By doing what all lovers do

Make me suffer

I find that repulsive

and I despise playacting

I am not your Countess-Aunt. I am I

Try that again, defy him

I am not your Countess-Aunt. I am I

Again, stronger

What do you want, Thomas?

I'm not your fucking aunt!
I am I, what do you want?

I don't know

This isn't about the play now

I just want more

I'm not her!
I'm some stupid cunt who needs a job!

I'm not your aunt, I am I

How's that?

That's good, very good

I can't play this part, it's too hard for me

Don't go, Vanda, please stay

Beg me

I beg you

You're evil

Don't you see you have me in your power?


You're not in my power, I'm in yours

You say you're my slave but you dominate me

That's true

He says she has power but he has it, not her

The more he submits,
the more he controls. Weird

It's complicated

Here's the contract we discussed

It states that you will
show me absolute submission

You'll be my slave

You'll renounce your identity completely

Your body, your soul

your honor will be mine forever



It was supposed to be one year

So you're dictating the terms?

May I read it?

Why? Don't you trust me?



Henceforth you'll call me "Madame"

and you'll speak only when I let you

You'll serve me my meals

and wait in the hallway for my orders

You'll dress me in the morning,
undress me at night

Hand me my stockings, put on my shoes

I'll call you "Thomas"

- It's Gregor in the script
- I've changed it

Henceforth I'll call you "Thomas"

You'll wear a footman's livery

As a gentleman...

As a gentleman you'll keep your word

Didn't you sign a contract to be my slave?

Your slave, not your valet

I fail to see the difference

Is this a game?

This is what I am

I'm stubborn, willful and greedy

When I start something, I finish it

The more you resist, the more I insist

But at heart you're of a noble nature

What do you know of my nature
apart from your imaginings?

Please forgive me, I'm despicable

Give me your passport and your money

Give them to me!

We leave tomorrow for Florence

I'll travel in first class, you in third

Third class?

You'll eat and sleep in the servants' quarters

Well, Thomas, what is it?

Where will all this end?

End? We haven't even started

But, Vanda...

She slaps his face

She kisses him

She strokes his cheek

Did that hurt, darling?

Yes, exquisitely


What have you learned
about the handsome Greek?

His name is Alexis, he's a Count

He's beautiful, isn't he?

He's very attractive

I told you Kushemski's hot for the Greek

Get me a box near his at the opera tonight

I'll let Count Alexis seduce me


What's the matter?

Am I not free to do as I like?

You electrify me

Silence, you dog

Bring me a birch cane

He brings her a cane

Do you hear that whistle?

It makes my nerves vibrate

like a tuning fork

I want to hear you whimper under the lash

To hear Herr Doktor Kushemski cry,
cry like a little girl

My heart pounds in my breast

The air is on fire

What have you done?

Blah, blah, blah

What, blah, blah, blah?

Suddenly she's the Wicked Witch?

The air is on fire, my nerves are tuning forks

Why not lightning and drumrolls too?

Listen, Tom, I really like you

but this is way too corny


Corny how? This is the play

My play!

It's a great play!

No one will make me think othe¤ise

You know nothing

I won't let anyone demolish my work

whether you're in it or not! Fuck you

Ok, it's your call

She holds a knife to his throat

God, I despise you

What are you doing, what is this, Vanda?

You think I don't understand your game?

You think you can use me, subjugate me?

I want no such thing

If you knew how delicious this feels

You know what?

I'll call Actors' Equity

Since you won't say if I've got the part

I'd love to give you the part

You say that now. Will you put it in writing?

Screw you, Marie-Cecile!

I'm still finishing up here

He's fucking me, Marie-Cecile!

Fucking me up the ass

No idea, soon

Banging me like a Labrador!

Go ahead and eat, I'll be there soon

Isn't there some lamb left from yesterday?

I'll call you when I leave

See you later

Yeah, fine

I don't know

I'll be home when I'm home

Go fuck yourself


There was nobody there, right?


You were pretending to talk to someone

That was my other half

- Who is this guy?
- Who said it's a guy?

Why did you do that?

Why do you think?

You didn't like me answering my phone

Like female revenge, or something?

Something like that, like

Any other director woulda jumped me by now

I'm not any other director


If you thought you could, you'd have done it


What if I let you?

How do you know
so much about Marie-Cecile?

I met her at the gym


She seemed real nice

Gorgeous too. Really

We got talking while we were undressing

Girl talk, like

I said I gave up acting to be a private eye

Or try to be

She told me about her boyfriend

A mysterious guy, a writer

She paid me to look into you

Find out who you are,
see if you really love her

A premarital fact-finding mission

Your criminal record, financial situation...

I'm supposed to meet her

at the hotel later

for a complete report

Great body, by the way, congratulations

You're incredible

When a man says that, I sense a trick


Marie-Cecile never showers at the gym


She sure was wet

Shall we finish?


Put this on

Thomas, you kept me waiting

I'm sorry, Madame

I was polishing the silver

You look very elegant in livery

Thank you, Madame

Turn around

Oh, yes

Quite irresistible

I could forget you're just a footman

But something is missing

Hold on, that's not in the...

I'm improvising

Something is missing

Very fetching, the cherry on the cupcake

Feels nice?

It feels very nice, Madame

I might fall in love with you,
dressed like that

Might fall..?

So you don't love me?

You bore me, whimpering all the time

You bore me

Is it the Count?

Are you in love with him?

Is it my fault he followed me here?

He doesn't love you.
He wants you like a thousand others!

Insolent swine! How dare you?

Bring me my boots

Yes, Madame

Not there, in the bag


Yes, Madame

And call me "Mistress," it's more degrading

Yes, Mistress

Do you like my boots?

Yes, Mistress

Would you like to put them on?

Yes, Mistress

I mean on me

Yes, Mistress

Tomorrow, I might tie you

to the fig tree in the garden

and prick you with my golden hairpin


harness you naked to a plow

and drive you with a whip

Would you like that?

Oh yes, Mistress

I'm very pleased with you, Thomas

Maybe I'll give you a candy

Is there anything else, Mistress?

Yes, one last thing

Call Marie-Cecile, say you won't be home

I can't do that


You can't?

No, I can't

No phony excuses

Marie-Cecile, it's me

I won't be coming home

No excuses

I can't tell you why

Say goodbye


Now turn it off

Isn't it wonderful?

The two of us alone here

This place is so nice

So secluded

I hardly know where I am


A new life lies before you, before us

Just the two of us

The two of us and your friend the Count

I wish you'd stop harping on him

I don't punish you enough,
that's the problem

Just as I was about
to take you in my arms

You were going to?



Come here

Put your arms around me

You see?

For an hour I can let you
imagine you're free again

You simpleton

You'll realize you're what I want you to be

An animal

An object

A void for me to fill

I won't accept it

I won't do it! I refuse

I beg your pardon?

I've written you a letter

A letter?

To break off with me, perhaps?

The degradation you craved
is too much to bear?

The degradation you craved...

I don't know how to play this line

What do you mean?

It's pretty straightforward

How do you hear it?

It's when... What's the cue line?

I've written you a letter

A letter?

To break off with me, perhaps?

The degradation you craved...

Lie down

The degradation you craved

is too much to bear?

You've probably carried it for days

afraid to show it to me

Well then?

Where is it? Show me this masterpiece

I could use some entertainment

That's great, Tom, that's awesome!

You should play Vanda

No, uh-uh

You should

Be Vanda

You understand her better than I do

You created her, you know her inside out

I don't know her lines

Of course you do

Be careful, Severin

I'm doing my best, Mistress

As usual, your best is not good enough

Bring me my fur

Yes, Mistress

Prepare a bottle of
champagne and two glasses

Count Alexis will be here soon

But, Mistress...

If you don't like it, leave!
Get out of my sight

Your fur, Mistress

Will you marry Count Alexis, Mistress?

I won't lie to you, Severin,
that man makes me tremble


Hold on...

Sit down

He dwells in my thoughts

I can't shut him out

He dwells in my thoughts

and I can't shut him out

He makes me suffer


I love this pain

Stand up and cross down

If he asks me to be his wife

I will say yes from the bottom of my heart

You're terrific!

You know he's jealous of you?

I've told him all about us

He probably threatened to kill you

He did

Did he strike you?


And you let him?

Yes, and it was sublime


Yes, and it was sublime

Go on, throw it in his face


And it was sublime!

I'll kill you both

I'll rip out your hearts
and feed them to the dogs!

God damn you

Yes, kill me, Severin!

I can't bear this game anymore

Game, what game?

How can you love me?

I've been awful to you, don't you see?

I did all this to save you, to cure you

to show how much I love you

So none of that was true?

None of it

It was just a game, an act?

What of the contract?

The contract...

My sweet little fool

Severin, I've loved you since I first saw you

I couldn't tell you I'm not what you think

I'm so weak, so lost, you see

Not bad

You should subjugate me

You should tie me up, whip me

I'll tie you to the statue with your stockings

You want that, don't you?

Oh, yes, I beseech you

Do with me what you will

Promise me you'll never leave me

I'll never leave you, I swear

Stand up!


I've dreamed of this

since I first met you

Stronger! More!

Humiliate me

Degrade me, subjugate me!

That's good, Tom

Really very good


Know what the problem is?

Whatever you say,
whatever you do, this play

is degrading

An insult to women, pornography!

What are you talking about?

Just look at you

A damsel in distress

A helpless, submissive cunt

Beat me, hurt me, I'm a woman!


Fucking hell!

Strong emotions

That's good

We no longer see this kind of rage


Thank me

Thank you

Thank you what?

Thank you, Mistress

You thought you could
dupe some idiot actress?

Use her to satisfy your sick needs?

Create your own female
Frankenstein monster?

Use me, humiliate me?

No, Vanda, I swear

Thank you, Mistress

Thank you, Goddess

Thank you...



Bacchae of the Cadmea

Dance for Dionysus!

And the Lord hath smitten him...

and delivered him into a woman's hands