The Magic Lantern

Hosted ByEricca Long and Cole Roulain

Exploring the films we love and the things we love about them.

The Magic Lantern: Episode 099 – The Duke of Burgundy

The Duke of Burgundy (Strickland, 2014) is a prime example of a film that you come to for one reason and love for another. I was drawn in by the lure of the sexploitation throwback and pleasantly surprised to find it was so much more than that. I found a complex, intimate relationship drama that knew its way around a corset. Within that, I also found a film that treated kink with respect. It’s surprising, and often disappointing, how seldom that is the case. Erotic films are often a dodgy proposition, maybe even more subjective than comedy. Sex is such an undeniably powerful component in so many of our lives. Sometimes it’s an epiphany, sometimes completely bewildering, sometimes even boring. No one film is ever going to be all things to all people, but some don’t even try. We should celebrate those that are this ambitious, revealing, and beautifully rendered.

We should also celebrate those that find the universality under the more exotic sexual trappings. Simply put, The Duke of Burgundy is a love story. It addresses the most common questions of shifting power in a relationship. Don’t let the bondage fool you. The most complicated restraints are seldom visible to the eye. Insecurities can keep even the most dominant of doms off balance and dissatisfied. Living a life of subservience, even one that you have carefully scripted for yourself, may not be enough. Strickland builds a place here away from the world that lets us immerse ourselves. Don’t be afraid to explore and ask questions. Don’t be afraid to indulge.

What you’ll find in this episode: butterflies, bondage, baking, and what to do when your significant other polishes someone else’s shiny boots of leather.

– Cole

Links and Recommendations:
Check out The Duke of Burgundy on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of The Lover.
Cole’s further viewing pick of The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant.
Six films that inspired Peter Strickland to make The Duke of Burgundy.
A look at BDSM, personality, and mental health.
Plan your trip to The Museum of Sex!

2 comments on The Magic Lantern: Episode 099 – The Duke of Burgundy

  1. FictionIsntReal says:

    I had been disappointed by Berberian Sound Studio, because I’d gotten into Italian horror films and found something which was more of a commentary on such films than an example of one. In contrast, I’ve never seen anything by Jess Franco and I don’t think I’d seen Belle du Jour either when I saw Duke of Burgundy, and the humorous angle was my entry point. Perhaps by your standards I was doing it wrong, but I found those people taking their role play so seriously to be rather silly. As the film went on the frustrations of the older woman weren’t just a joke, but even when she forced the other to make that cake there was something funny about it.

    1. Cole Roulain says:

      Since it is such a mood piece, I can see where coming into it with a particular thing in mind could skew the whole viewing experience. If you had seen much Franco beforehand it could have done that too. The connections to vintage Eurosleaze are really just superficial. I’m curious if you saw a trailer or read something that indicated it was going to be comical in some way. None of the things I saw before watching it had me thinking that way.

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