Home > Reviews > VENUS IN FUR – Alexandre Desplat

VENUS IN FUR – Alexandre Desplat

November 8, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

venusinfurOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Venus in Fur, a French-Polish co-production, is Roman Polanski’s big-screen adaptation of David Ives’s play, an erotic comedy-drama about the unusual relationship that develops between a theater director and a needy, manipulative actress during the audition process for a production of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s classic story of sexuality, desire and masochism, Venus in Furs. The film, which stars Mathieu Almaric as the director and Emmanuelle Seigner as the actress, explores the shifts in power between the pair as the relationship between those creating the play begins to mirror the one between the characters in the story itself.

Venus in Fur is the third collaboration between Polanski and composer Alexandre Desplat, after The Ghost Writer in 2010 and Carnage in 2011. Unusually, like he did before with the scores for Les Corps Impatients in 2003 and De Battre Mon Coeur s’est Arrêté in 2005, Desplat has released his entire score as a single track, this time lasting a whopping 37 minutes. Although the structure of the score makes it difficult to pick out highlight moments and identify specific elements, this does not have any bearing on the music itself, which is as excellent as it always is. As the film balances delicately between farcical comedy and erotic drama, so Desplat’s score treads that fine line too. He treats the relationship between the director and actress like a dance, so the score – as is often his way – is built entirely around variations of a recurring waltz-like theme.

The score veers from high camp to high drama; it opens with a peculiar theme of quirky rhythms and unusual instrumental textures – woodwinds and heavy percussion and tinkling cimbaloms – which eventually develops into a much more sedate and classical piano variation. Around the seven-minute mark a more dark and moody texture emerges, bass flutes, soft gongs and low-end pianos, but all still underpinned by the incessant waltz rhythm. There’s a lovely repeat performance of the main melody around the 13:00, given a touch of magic with feather-light glockenspiels and little violin trills. Towards the end of the suite some more traditionally sultry, seductive music comes into play, with a slightly Middle Eastern-feel, with harps and bells providing a Salome-like sense of mystery and passion, before the whole thing ends with a comedic, bulbous restatement of the main theme.

Despite the unusual manner in which the score was released, this is a clever and witty piece of work by Desplat, whose music in 2013 was written for films that were much more independent and idiosyncratic in nature than previous years. The Frenchman displays a sly sense of humor and an unexpected touch of eroticism in Venus in Furs, which is worth seeking out for those who are fans of his smaller, more off-the-beaten-track efforts.

Buy the Venus in Fur soundtrack from the Movie Music UK Store

Track Listing:

  • La Venus à la Fourrure – Venus in Fur (36:58).

Running Time: 36 minutes 58 seconds

Playtime Records (2013)

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  1. May 12, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Magnifiquе article, une fois de plus

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