The Duke of Burgundy Recap

DoB Three Panel Maroon

Graphic by Julian House

This is a recap with every spoiler imaginable, if you’re looking for a review sans-spoilers, click here.

I was originally going to write this in a way that was similar to my recap/review of Secretary, which included notes from the DVD commentary by the writer and the director. Peter Strickland both wrote and directed Duke of Burgundy and I was looking forward to some illumination on certain things. For the most part I didn’t get what I was looking for.

Strickland is a director’s director. He said in an interview that he’s not an actor’s director and that was no understatement. His references and homages were all for films I had never heard of. I’m not a cinephile, so fair dues. A decent amount of time is spent talking about technical aspects of filmmaking. If you know/care nothing of that sort of thing it’s rather like listening to people talk about complex maths or the pros and cons of one Pantone shade of blue versus the very next shade lighter. With great enthusiasm.

Strickland is also extremely British. He has a terminal case of HughGrantitis. The man never met a sentence he didn’t need to re-start fourteen times.

What I’m trying to say is: he spoke nearly the entire commentary but didn’t say much that would enhance this recap.

I love your film, Mr Strickland, it’s in my top five, if not my number one, but wow, sir, your commentary made me cry.

[Still, anything from the commentary that was useful will be in brackets.]

*My personal thoughts/comments will follow an asterisk.

–Obvious places where deleted scenes included in the DVD extras would have gone will be between emdashes–

At the end of this recap will be information on DVD extras like deleted scenes, stills galleries and such.

Obviously, all of the spoilers below and because it’s a long piece, I’m putting the rest of the post behind a break.

Before I get to it, a note about images in this post. The gifs are from the inimitable Governors, Captains & Officers [source link now dead], and screenshots are mine. I hadn’t intended to do as many as I wound up making, but I discovered the gallery feature (after using WordPress for five years) so there are hundreds of images. Prepare yourself.

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Open on a babbling brook on a sunny day. It’s one of those films where from the first shot the viewer knows every shot is going to be gorgeous. No matter what happens at least my eyes will be happy.

The credit sequence is very 70s with a soundtrack by Cat’s Eyes.

Chiara D’Anna is cycling through the countryside of an unidentifiable area of Europe. She looks remarkably like Tori Amos circa Little Earthquakes.

We are informed the perfume is by Je Suis Gizelle.

There’s a lovely double exposure moment of girl in a library that makes my pageist heart flutter. Also, the library doesn’t appear to have books printed within the last century.

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[They filmed in Hungary and Budapest and Strickland wanted it to be able to have taken place in the recent past or even some time in the future.]

Eventually the girl arrives at an ivy-covered house, where her employer (Sidse Babett Knudsen) informs her coldly that she’s late. She’s to start by cleaning the study and instructed not to ‘take all day this time.’

Then we’re given a loving view of the woman’s study, which is adorned with framed moths and butterflies of all types, including pupae.

[The house was…less than wonderful. The sumptuous wallpaper was printed from the internet and the loo reeked. The tiles in the bathroom were stickers created by the set designer.]

The girl is then shown cycling (perhaps running errands)—the brooch holding her cape together is a winged creature like a beetle or moth.

After returning to the house the girl does quite a few other chores, always being reprimanded in a stern manner for minor infractions.

The girl begins to leave for the day and is informed she’s not finished her work—she’s to rub her employer’s feet. She’s not allowed to use the toilet and must stay at the older woman’s feet, doing as she’s told.

Shortly after this she’s watching her employer undress through the keyhole of a door.

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Later that day the employer is at her typewriter in the study. She goes to the window to watch the girl sweeping leaves and then returns to her typing in time for the girl to return. She then tells her to hand wash her underthings.

The woman checks the girl’s work and finds it lacking. The girl apologises and is informed it’s too late to correct the mistake and that she must be punished. She’s taken into the bathroom and the woman tells the girl to lie on the floor and open her mouth. She then urinates in the girl’s mouth. This happens behind the closed door.

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[Strickland says they did it with a sound effect in post and he wishes they’d poured water into something behind the door instead. And that what they were actually doing in there was reading a magazine, he thinks. The actual film of the pants in the sink was filmed at his place much later.]

Then it is evening and they are in their bedroom. The woman removes her wig. The girl thanks the woman for giving her the perfect fantasy. The woman asks, ‘Not too cold?’
To which she receives the reply, ‘The colder the better.’

There’s then a trippy love scene.

–There’s a much extended version of this in the deleted scenes–

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The women aren’t just kinky, though, and the next scene is what they get up to when they’re not being all D/s, which is the older woman, Cynthia, lecturing on the endlessly sexy mole cricket at the museum.

[There are two recordings played of the sounds certain crickets make—Strickland said he didn’t want to drive the extras crazy so instead he played music produced by his record label.]

There are at least three mannequins in the back of the crowd in this scene, for some reason.

[Strickland said he just liked the look of them. He also talked about making a film that takes place in a universe inhabited only by women (there are no men in the film) and being sure that there were women in their 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s there. At one point he spoke about being aware of the male gaze and trying not to film from that point of view and the difficulty of it. He also noted the irony of giving a masculine name to a film with only women in it. (The Duke of Burgundy is a butterfly.)]

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The women are then in bed—Cynthia lying on top of the younger one, Evelyn—her head at Evelyn’s feet. They’re both wearing silken slip-like night things. Evelyn is gently stroking Cynthia’s legs. She stops, and is reprimanded, ‘Did I say you could stop?’
Evelyn whispers in voice over:

Cynthia, Cynthia. This is all I ever dreamed about. To be yarned by you; to be used by you. I can’t tell you how happy I am. I never thought I could find someone like you. I never thought it would be possible. I won’t let you down, Cynthia. Never. I won’t let you down. As long as I’m yours I remain alive. I love you, Cynthia. I love you.

More trippy sex.

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Evelyn is then cycling up to the house in her cape and Cynthia is back in her Domme wig and costume. She reads the instructions her sub has left for her and gets into role. Then it’s off to be Power Bitch.

They repeat the scene from the start of the film. We stay with Cynthia this time and she’s drinking copious amounts of water and looking bored.

When we get to the part were Evelyn is told to start with the study and not to ‘take all day this time’ the girl basically walks into the study and then back out. She is then instructed to polish the woman’s boots, which she starts but quickly stops, intentionally waiting to be caught. Cynthia catches her and tells her if she sees her being lazy again she’ll be in trouble. After going back inside, Cynthia reads her cue card and drinks water and gets distracted. Eventually Evelyn knocks on the door in order to remind Cynthia to catch her skiving off. It’s comical to see what happens when a scene doesn’t go exactly to plan and isn’t quite as hot as the fantasy.

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A sweet scene of the happy couple cycling together and Cynthia stroking Evelyn’s hair and praising her interspersed with a very hot scene of her sub performing oral sex on her.

–In the deleted scenes there’s an extended version of this scene that they should have kept in in my humble opinion because it was sexy as all hell. I mean, integral to the plot of the film. Yeah. That.–

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Then a scene of the couple in bed—Evelyn wants morning sex, but she needs Cynthia to talk dirty to her, which involves being spoken to like a disobedient maid. It’s not a role that comes naturally to Cynthia, though, and she clearly struggles. Eventually, with much prompting by Evelyn the Toppy Bottom, things are brought to a close. After which she tells Cynthia to ‘have more conviction in your voice next time’.

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This girl tops from the bottom like nobody’s business.

Blank paperitis

‘And then you…forgot to ask me if I actually enjoy this…’

A scene where Cynthia tries on different wigs, eventually going with her usual red one. Evelyn watches her dress at the keyhole.

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At one of their entomology meetings the girl notices another woman’s Dommey boots and Cynthia notices her noticing. Evelyn tries to be clever by asking an overly complicated question, but is shot down easily—Evelyn doesn’t know as much about the subject as she thinks.

That evening, they do a scene Cynthia invented the morning of the not-enough-conviction scene, which involves her using the girl as a sort of chair whilst reading a book about cave crickets.

[Strickland says they’d recently passed a law about ‘extreme pornography’ (I’m not sure who ‘they’ are—England?–and face-sitting was on the list of things that were considered to be extremely pornographic. I’m not sure if they would have considered it so if both people are clothed and the sitter is reading a book about cave crickets and the other is whinging about what an idiot she is.

Strickland pointed out that when Evelyn asks if she can get up now and Cynthia says no it’s probably because she realises keeping Evelyn in bondage is the best way to calm her down after a difficult day. Which is understandable. If you’ve had a terrible day you want to be looked after by the person who loves you most. And the way Evelyn wants to be looked after by Cynthia is by being treated with scorn. And by being sat on.]

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The girl is then seen meeting a mysterious blonde, who measures the couple’s bed and then her arms and height.

Then the woman has lunch with the couple and it turns out they want a bed that will allow Cynthia to sleep on top of Evelyn–the younger woman being confined in a space under her girlfriend. They want it in time for the girl’s birthday in two weeks, but that isn’t possible, as the beds take six weeks to make. She is informed that the human toilet would be available by then and the girl thinks this is a swell idea. At this, Cynthia takes her leave, citing a previous engagement. It’s obvious she’s uncomfortable with the way things are going.

When Cynthia is leaving we see through the window the blonde (called The Carpenter and played by Fatma Mohamed) making gestures that are supposed to illustrate how the human toilet works.

[In the credits it says the human toilet consultants were Manfred and Geert but Strickland says he had no idea how something like that would work and he just left it up to the actress to improvise. So now I’m curious who put those names in the credits. And I’m too much of a wuss to Google human toilet.]

[They also offer the Carpenter butterfly mounts in exchange for expediting the order—Strickland said he didn’t want to name a specific currency, partially as a way to keep from placing the film in a particular location, but because he also liked the idea of bartering rather than people spending money on things.]

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Evelyn is back in the bathroom—hanging Cynthia’s delicates up to dry while Cynthia struggles to get into a complicated piece of clothing. Eventually she intentionally rips her stocking in frustration.

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It’s night and Cynthia is snoring softly. Evelyn gets out of bed and, carrying a candelabra, goes downstairs and removes blankets and cloths from some sort of furniture. She also removes cloths from inside.

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It’s the morning and she’s happy. Cynthia wants to know what she’s happy about and they bring the heavy piece up, during which Cynthia injures her back.

After rubbing her back for a solid five seconds, Evelyn tells Cynthia to take a painkiller. Then she writes out a fantasy and gives it to Cynthia.

Evelyn: Tell me.
Cynthia: Okay.
Evelyn, pouting: You don’t sound enthusiastic.
Cynthia: It says to be cold.
Evelyn: Yes, but not now. And one thing I forgot to write. Don’t talk about it. Just surprise me.
Cynthia: I know. I know!
Evelyn: Well, you were a bit slow to surprise me last time.
Cynthia: Well it’s not a surprise if you’re expecting it, is it?
Evelyn: I know. But what I mean by surprise is, within twenty-four hours. But not in the first hour, because that wouldn’t be a surprise. And not in the last hour, either. I’m just all frustrated then.
Cynthia gives her a deadpan, withering look and asks: So within twenty-two hours then?
Evelyn: Yes.
Cynthia: Anything else?

*This girl should give lessons on topping from the bottom. Kee-rist.

The strain is increasingly obvious. The girl is a terrible sub. She never asks what the other woman wants. She is a bossy child.

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The girl goes to the Library Time Forgot again then comes home and they do the lingerie scene again.

*The cinematography in this film is incredible. It reoccurs to me every now and again. Nicholas D. Knowland is an artist.

This time, her punishment is to have her hands bound and put in the piece of furniture (which is a massive trunk that looks like something Poe would keep a beloved dead relative in) that has been put in their bedroom.

–There’s a deleted scene that shows the section between Evelyn getting the washing wrong and being put in the trunk–

Cynthia does her final bit of the script Evelyn has given her, but can’t help herself and has to ask if she can breathe in there. She’s told to go away.

The woman goes to sleep, but Evelyn wakes her up in the middle of the night saying, ‘Pinastri!’ A mosquito bit her, but tied up people can’t scratch well.

Another one for the fantasy is better than the reality.

*At first I thought she was saying ‘Be nasty!’ which seemed like an odd choice for a safeword, but it turns out she was saying ‘Pinastri’ which is a type of moth/butterfly, of course.

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It’s daytime and Cynthia is in a corset and heels and her Domme wig.

In voice over Evelyn whispers: ‘This is all I ever dreamed about. This is all I ever dreamed about.’

It’s difficult to tell because we’re looking at the women separately but I believe this is a worship scene. Because Cynthia is dressed in her Domme gear and being unresponsive and it appears Evelyn is looking up at her as though she’s on her knees, which would be a typical position for worship. There’s also the church-like candles for good measure.

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Next we get a scene where they’re in the bathroom again—behind the closed door—and the woman can’t perform her duty. Evelyn prods:

‘Try turning the tap on.’

*I suppose when you’re dying for someone to wee in your mouth it must be quite frustrating when they can’t. It’s not like she asks much of this woman.

[Strickland says that the first time this scene happens you feel badly for Evelyn and the second time you feel badly for Cynthia. This is true.]

*Bean asked me what was going on in the bathroom and I explained and said, ‘That’s why she’s always drinking so much water.’

Bean: I thought Dominants just needed to stay hydrated.

I swear she’s is one of the smartest people I know.

Bean did point out that she’d learn her lines fast if she knew she couldn’t go to the bathroom until she got them right. No kidding.

Only one screencap here, as this is all we see during this scene.

Only one screencap here, as this is all we see during this scene.

The women are at home—in their regular clothing—when it’s apparent Cynthia is in pain but the girl doesn’t offer a back rub. Evelyn says it’s because she’s not exactly dressed to send a submissive’s heart afluttering.

We learn the girl bought Cynthia her Domme-y wardrobe. Also that Cynthia hates it because it’s too complicated.

*According to IMDB the wardrobe was so complicated the actresses spent three days in costume fittings.

–From the deleted scenes we learned that the house is Evelyn’s and Cynthia lives with her, as well.

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It’s night and, even from within the trunk, Evelyn can control Cynthia, or more precisely, her snoring, by snapping her fingers. Who’s really the Dominant?

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Outside, Cynthia is sweeping leaves. Then done up to go out. She asks Evelyn if she wants to go to the library and get an ice cream. Evelyn isn’t interested. She needs to have a nap if she’s going to be put in the trunk that evening. Cynthia the Unwilling says this is the first she’s heard of trunk-time and Evelyn the Spoiled is upset that she has to ask to be punished.

More gorgeous shots of the library and the house. I just want to stare at this film.

On her way back to the house, Cynthia sees the Carpenter who makes the beds and human toilets.

[This was a double in a blonde wig, as the original actress had a theatre engagement. Cinema magic!]

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Cynthia’s back is still bothering her. Evelyn gives her a massage and they have a conversation. It turns out the girl has been polishing Dr Schuller’s boots—the woman from the entomology lectures. Then they have a hilarious conversation where Cynthia asks if the woman whose boots she polished also punished her.

Evelyn: She told me off a bit—that’s all. Nothing more.
Cynthia: How did she tell you off?
Evelyn: Just some harsh words. Some threats. That’s all. Then I went home! [What a WHORE.]
Cynthia: I bet you did.
Evelyn: I didn’t do anything. We didn’t kiss. We didn’t touch. Nothing, I swear. Believe me. I didn’t do anything.
Cynthia: That’s your idea of not doing anything? For what it’s worth you might as well have gone all the way. The damage has been done.
Evelyn: What damage?
Cynthia: You betrayed me.

Then Cynthia is at an entomology meeting and she spies the boot-whore and they exchange glances. Dr Schuller looks appropriately abashed. Her previously scuffed boots are now shiny. Hope you enjoyed that shining, boot-whore.

[Strickland says something sexual must have happened but I don’t know if he’s counting the simple telling off as sexual, which it could be seen as, or if he actually means something physically sexual happened.]

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Then it’s Evelyn’s birthday and Cynthia is in full Domme mode—making her bake her own cake and then later eating it in front of her whilst wearing her most comfy and un-Domme-y pyjamas.

Evelyn says she doesn’t want this and tries to safeword out, but Cynthia puts her manky sock over her mouth and stops her, saying, ‘Oh if we could all say “pinastri” to end our torments.’

[Strickland says he wishes they hadn’t used such a professional-looking cake. Seriously. If my Dominant made me bake a cake I’d do my best, but it wouldn’t be level or look anything like that thing.]

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Professional cakey goodness.

Professional cakey goodness.

Then we have a music video? Where Evelyn begins lip syncing to the Cat’s Eyes song playing. A montage of bugs. It’s beautiful, but I don’t pretend to understand everything in this film. That should have been the title of my review. The Duke of Burgundy: It’s Beautiful but I Don’t Pretend to Understand Everything.

There’s a very brief, silent scene where Cynthia ignores Evelyn when retrieving a book from the study, which wounds Evelyn.

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Then Evelyn is carrying a lantern down stairs outside and follows moths in the lamplight. She returns to the house in the blue light of morning.

And now begins a trippy series of scenes that probably mean something to someone. I just report what I see. [My friend Bug calls this a big lipped alligator moment and I’m going to agree with her.]

Evelyn—looking zombied out—walks into the room where Cynthia is Dommed out. Cynthia opens her legs and Evelyn doesn’t look happy about it. The camera zooms into the blackness between Cynthia’s legs.

Cynthia is lying in bed and hears Evelyn’s safeword from the trunk. She unlocks it to find a skeleton. Then goes into the forest and comes upon the trunk again to find Evelyn and she climbs in with her.

Evelyn is blindfolded and walking down a corridor filled with moths, which eventually resolve into giant wings and then an eye looking at wings up close through a microscope.

End trippy series of scenes.

*Was it a dream? An allegory? I don’t know. Leave a comment if you have a theory. The DVD commentary didn’t help.

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Cynthia is in bed. Evelyn walks in, dressed for the day, and asks, ‘Can you sit on me? Please?’

She complies, but gets nothing from it.

*You’d think this would be funny, but it was rather heart-breaking. Here are two people trying to connect in the ways they know how—one by being submissive to her partner and the other by trying to please the person she loves—and it’s not working for either of them.

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Back at the library, the moths are being removed for the winter (the library closes for the season) and Cynthia is giving a talk.

After which we see her getting into her Domme drag whilst Evelyn watches through the keyhole. She now has the same boots that Evelyn polished for the other woman. They are some sexy boots, fair dues.

The girl kneels at the woman’s feet and worships her whilst Cynthia remains imperious. Evelyn is then tied and put in the box. Cynthia immediately gets out of drag, saddened.

[Strickland said they considered ending it here, but then you just have a story of a spoiled child getting what she wants and no one learning anything.]

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Cynthia is at her typewriter. They’re doing the hand-washing of the underwear scene again. Cynthia is getting it wrong, though. She’s uncertain; she’s crying. She apologizes for messing up the scene and Evelyn has to reassure her. In typical sub fashion she wants Cynthia to tell her what to do in order to prove she loves her even if she isn’t Super Domme, Supreme Bitch of All Bitches. Evelyn says she can change if it makes her so unhappy—that what they do is ‘just a luxury’.

They move the trunk out of their bedroom. Burn the instruction cards.

Burning of the cue card

Begone, cards of micro-managing submission!

–In the notes to the deleted scenes where there’s another version of the removal of the trunk Strickland says he doesn’t know what possessed him to have them move that heavy trunk in heels.–

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Montage of being in the park together. Trippy sex scenes.

Whispered conversation where Evelyn assures Cynthia she’s fine.

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Evelyn is sitting by the babbling brook from the opening scene.

Then she’s cycling up to the house also like the beginning. Cynthia is getting into Domme gear and drinking water.

[Strickland says we don’t know if this is a relapse, if it’s a flashback, if maybe Cynthia never goes to the door. Maybe she just leaves. My original thought was that the entire thing was a massive game they played where Cynthia pretended she wasn’t into it and they made their way back round to the beginning again like a cycle. But Strickland wrote the thing so he knows. Or he doesn’t, I suppose. And we’re not supposed to, either.]

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A personal note about the cat. I checked the credits to see if the cat was listed. Nope. The names of the insects were listed (in order of appearance, as well) but not the cat. I want to know the animal’s name.

Really, there Strickland? You're killing me.

Really, there Strickland? You’re killing me.

Moth in flight

Notes on the DVD Special Features

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[I had the UK DVD edition. I don’t know if other countries or formats (Blu-ray, for example) have different features.]

The Trailer. Which reminded me of the ages of frustration of wanting to see the film–knowing I would love it even though I had less than a clue what it was about. If you’d like to re-live that time of your life:

Commentary. I’ve discussed this. Extensively.

An interview with Peter Strickland. He discusses various things like filming in Hungary, casting, where the idea came from, etc. The information is interesting, but he’s still got his Hugh Grantitis happening. My husband just wanted him to stop touching his forehead.

DoB-00002

Stills galleries. What it sounds like. Not as many stills as I’d like and not even all of the Julian House images, which was a bit surprising. There were a few interiors of the house when they found it and what it looked like after they dressed it—those were the most interesting to my mind. I’m posting the galleries in full for those who don’t have access to the DVD.

Stills Galleries Offered

Stills Galleries

Manor — Before & After

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Production Design & Art Department

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Pre-Production

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Shooting

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Pinned & Digital Insects

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Posters by Julian House

The gallery included on the DVD doesn’t have all of the graphics House did for the film (and they have that glorious purple background). So I’m posting all of the House graphics here.

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Deleted Scenes

Some of these are excellent; others are brief shots from different angles. Each are prefaced with information about where it was supposed to go, why it was cut or other things. And much of it is hilarious. Turns out, Strickland is funny when he isn’t umming and ahhing and hemming and hawing.

1. Special effects magic for the moths invasion sequence.

It’s not something we ever see in the film, but I prefer this to the actual scene.

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2. Evelyn goes to the library.

Some of these shots were used in the opening sequence. As for Strickland’s explanation–I do not have the foggiest clue what he’s on about. If you do, please leave a comment. What.

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3. Candy Floss Object Lesson

A very short shot of Evelyn riding her bike. There was supposed to be some caterpillar webs in the background and they’d got a fairy floss machine to make the webs, but spent the day playing with the machine and left it too late to film the shot. It does indeed look rubbish, but the idea of these artists standing around a field in eastern Europe faffing about with a fairy floss machine to the detriment of their art amuses me greatly. In the notes for this clip Strickland said that any other filmmakers watching should remember to shoot the scene first and play with the sweets later.

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4. Hand-washing pants in a hotel sink with Peter Strickland

I don’t know. Read his explanation. The shots are everything in the clip, but the camera slowly zooms or pans. With breathy Cat’s Eyes music playing over it. So it’s not weird or anything.

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5. The worst part of my job.

Strickland and the crew spent ‘hours’ filming the ladies in bed together. What a chore. So now I have to screencap this long extra scene for you. (It’s about four minutes and was cut down to be the first love-making scene in the film.) I’ve capped more than I normally would for a scene since most people won’t see it otherwise. I hope you’ll forgive me.

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6. More annoying things I have to do. (Vanilla version)

Another very long scene (6+ minutes) of the ladies in bed, then them briefly moving the trunk out of their bedroom and some butterfly transition. Lots of caps again for you.

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7. I HAVE THE HARDEST LIFE IN THE WORLD

More sex they cut because they hate the regular viewer. Here you go. Because I love you. See? You know who your friends are now, don’t you?

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8. Compost Heap with Monica Swinn

Because I’ve committed myself. Here’s a scene.

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9. Compost Heap Part 2: Heap More!

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10. Compost Heap III: Return of the Heap!

The women had a compost pile—that’s where all the sweepings went. Strickland had a beautiful shot of the pile where the bugs were crawling perfectly—he said he was impressed by how well the bugs performed—but the pacing was wrong. And there was too much dirt for a real compost pile. He said you could tell it was a film made by urbanites who lived in small flats and didn’t have gardens. And that there wasn’t room in the budget for advisers for both compost and bondage. (I told you he was funny.)

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11. The girl likes trunks, and she cannot lie.

There was another scene where Evelyn was in a trunk with Cynthia sitting on it reading. Evelyn tries to push up the lid to escape and Cynthia shouts, ‘Hey! I say when you can get out!’ And resumes reading. I really liked this scene. It begins looking like Cynthia is enjoying the lovely weather and there’s this amusing moment. They cut it because they thought there were too many trunks, but Evelyn likes being in confined spaces. So what?

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12. Rain and Key Information

During this scene, which was cut, we find out one piece of information that really should have been left in the film—Cynthia moved into Evelyn’s house. We already knew that Evelyn purchased Cynthia’s clothes for her, but the house was owned by Evelyn. There are empowered subs and then there are…whatever Evelyn is. Though if she owned this house she must have inherited it–being too young to have purchased it–and is used to getting what she wants from being wealthy. This explains loads.

This was difficult to cap–the conversation was filmed entirely in their reflection in the window against the rain. Freaking artistic directors.

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13. Fantasy Trunk Sequence

Originally, when Evelyn went downstairs and found the trunk she had a fantasy about Cynthia. They opted not to use that bit and cut the scene just after Evelyn throws the cloths out of the trunk.

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14. Objectifying Suspenders

Yeah. This is shot really weirdly. And WTF with the superfluous suspenders. Strickland’s comment made me laugh.

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15. First Punishment After the Trunk

This the what happened during the first punishment scene after the trunk was introduced into their play. Cynthia was probably glad not to have to drink water all the live-long day.

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16. One of My Favourite Scenes.

This would be in competition with the ‘Within twenty-two hours, then?’ scene for my fav scene in the film, had it not been cut. Strickland cut it because he couldn’t find the right place for it, but it was hilarious.

Evelyn is in the trunk and Cynthia is in her comfy jim-jams, wig off, eating pumpkin seeds, all done with her Domme duty. Apparently, though, Evelyn’s fantasy doesn’t involve hearing her Dominant eating seeds nearby, because she bangs the inside of the trunk, hard, to make her stop crunching. The expression on Cynthia’s face made me guffaw. ‘I just wanna eat my treat.’ The topping from the bottom of the year award goes to…

Strickland said it was one of his favourite scenes. It would have been mine, too, if it was in the actual film.

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17. Snoring Cynthia 1

Because Evelyn is terrible, she’s trained Cynthia to wake up/stop snoring when she snaps her fingers. We see this act of love in action in this 45 second scene.

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18 Snoring Cynthia 2: An unimpressed director.

Just read Strickland’s comments.

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19 Inside the Trunk.

Well now I’m picturing there being a little minibar in there. Thanks, Strickland.

It’s difficult to screencap an effect, but when we’re looking at Evelyn it looks like light playing through water at night.

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20. The Old Lady & the Strained Metaphor.

Evelyn tells Cynthia she saw a type of moth called an Old Lady down by the river and that she was tempted to pin her. Cynthia says it’s illegal to pin Old Ladies now.

Ugh. Yeah. Read Strickland’s notes. The scene is pretty to look at, though.

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21. The Only Mention of The Duke of Burgundy.

Besides the sub-plot of Cynthia moving in with Evelyn, another sort of sub-plot they opted to cut was Evelyn trying to win Cynthia’s approval in terms of becoming better known in the world of entomological scholarship. There’s a scene where a paper she’s written is rejected—it’s the one time the Duke of Burgundy butterfly is mentioned. The scene in the film where Evelyn is lying on Cynthia’s lap and reading something to her (it’s interspersed in a montage early on and shown with no sound) is her reading an essay she’s written and it’s dreadful. Strickland chose not to go with this subplot, as he wanted the story to be about Evelyn’s power over Cynthia and the problems that caused, rather than complicating it with Evelyn trying to win Cynthia’s admiration.

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–End Deleted Scenes–

Cat’s Eyes “Requiem for The Duke of Burgundy” Promo. A music video for this song. I’ve capped some of it, but it’s not a coherent video–it’s just a lot of random Catholic imagery. I did, however, opt to forego screencapping the scopy photos of the singer’s vocal chords and esophagus. You’re welcome.

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Short Film: Conduct Phase. Short film by Peter Strickland. It’s footage of dogs in Greece set to a repetitive soundtrack and was made in the 90s. I really don’t know what else to say about this. After the first 45 seconds you have a clear idea of where it’s going. Then there are a 6 minutes or so more to go.

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Mole Cricket Field Notes. Information on mole crickets–the lecture Cynthia gives. If you play the video at the end, it’s just the two images of the crickets and the sound files played at the lectures. Handsome fellows.

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There you have it. What will no doubt be the longest and most involved post on this site, ever.

It was a labour of love (I certainly wasn’t paid for it) and it probably took close to twenty four total hours combined between writing and capping, but I love this film so much and I wanted to share it with others who feel similarly.

I hope you enjoyed my ridiculousness. I’m going to have a lie-down.

2 Responses to The Duke of Burgundy Recap

  1. Hilarious recap! Duke of Burgundy is also one of my recent favourites, especially since I’m a huge fan of Jess Franco, a director whom Strickland was heavily inspired by for this.

    Regarding the deleted library scene. I think Strickland was trying to say that he wanted to give the film a general religious feel to parallel Evelyn’s worship of Cynthia. So the librarians reading and classifying the insects would become like monks reading chants from their books.

    • You get a treat for reading the entire thing!

      And thank you for that explanation. That makes sense. I did not make that connection but can see that now that you point it out.

      Yay for Duke of Burgundy love!

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