10 Films to Watch Right Now Before Seeing ‘The Duke of Burgundy’

Share Button

This weekend sees the theatrical release of two films that are, sure to be, some of our favorites films of 2015—Xavier Dolan’s Mommy and Peter Strickland’s The Duke of Burgundy. But if your cinema plans are set for Saturday and tonight’s the night for just cozying up in bed with a good movie, you can feast on our list of films to watch before seeing Strickland’s erotic new film. In our interview with the director, we noted that The Duke of Burgundy as:

Bringing Italian giallo pleasure into the realm of domestic chamber drama, Strickland’s film places us, “somewhere in time, somewhere in Europe,” as we enter the lives of Orthopterist Cynthia and amateur Lepidopterist Evelyn, two women entangled in an erotic and emotionally complex affair. Upon meeting the characters, we catch them amidst one of their provocative mistress domination rituals, ending in Evelyn’s punishment and pleasure. Although Cynthia receives her own satisfaction out of pleasing Evelyn, she yearns for a more conventional relationship—one in which she doesn’t have to constrict her body into suffocating corsets and hosiery every night, and can show her affection for Evelyn rather than constantly having to demean her.

Portraying their relationship with both heartwarming tenderness and feverish kink, Strickland manages to elevate his 1970′s lesbian sexploitation influences to show the sensitive and human aspects of the personas we adopt when coupled with another. As one of the most stylish and deliciously sensory films in recent memory, The Duke of Burgundy melds the perfect cocktail of psychological dread, alluring decadence, and compelling melodrama, reminiscent of filmmakers like R.W. Fassbinder, yet in a way that’s wholly his own.

With the film out in theaters and on VOD today, we sat down with Strickland to discuss the origins of his erotic spell of a film, the paradox of power at play, and the stunningly sexy costumes that brings his characters to life.

So check out the rest of our of interview with Strickland HERE and enjoy a fantastical list of films below—from classic tales of eroticism and longing to psychological dramas that explore the personas we assume when in the throws of love and obsession.

________________________________________

BELLE DE JOUR, Luis Bunuel

(Watch on Hulu +)

Bunuel’s provocative 1967 drama starring Catherine Deneuve as a married woman whose darker fantasies take over as she’s compelled to spend her afternoons as a prostitute.

________________________________________

THERESE AND ISABELLE, Radley Metzger

(Watch on YouTube)

Metzger’s beautifully shot 1968 black-and-white erotic drama about a love affair between two young girls who experience their sexual awakening while in a Swiss boarding school.

________________________________________

BLUE VELVET, David Lynch

(Watch on iTunes)

The film that established Lynch’s signature fascination with the teeming and sexual underbelly of white-fenced Americana. A mystery / psychological horror show about a college student whose discovery of a human ear in a field leads him into a psycho-erotic and dangerous world of obsession.

________________________________________

THE PIANO TEACHER, Michael Haneke

(Watch on Netflix Instant)

Haneke’s 2001 drama about a sexually repressed piano teacher in Vienna falls into a mutual obsession with a 17-year-old student.

________________________________________

THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT, Rainer Werner Fassbinder

(Watch on Hulu +)

Fassbinder’s 1972 masterpiece chamber drama about a selfish and depressive woman falls madly in love with a young bisexual woman and when their affair ends descends into an alcoholic madness.

________________________________________

THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE, Luis Bunuel

(Watch on Amazon)

Bunuel’s final film, made in 1977, about an aging French man who falls in love with a young Spanish woman and recounts his unfulfilled obsessions with her.

________________________________________

IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES, Nagisa Oshima

(Watch on Hulu +)

Oshima’s 1976 controversial drama, a sexually explicit fictionalization of an incident that occurred in 1930s Japan.

________________________________________

THE NIGHT PORTER, Liliana Cavani

(Watch on Hulu +)

Cavani’s 1974 drama about a female concentration camp survivor falls into a sadomasochistic affair with her WWII tormentor thirteen years late in Vienna.

________________________________________

CERTIFIED COPY, Abbas Kiarostami

(Watch on Netflix Instant)

Kiarostami’s 2010 film about British writer and a French antiques dealer, whose relationships morphs from moment to moment as they spend an afternoon together getting to know one another.

________________________________________

BAD TIMING, Nicolas Roeg

(Watch on Netflix Instant)

Roeg’s 1980 erotic drama about an emotionally unstable and volatile woman who falls obsessively in love with a sexually repressed and emotionally stoic yet violent man who brings her to an untimely demise.