The Duke of Burgundy

Lush, sensual, and emotionally intelligent, this 2014 British drama from director Peter Strickland focuses on the lesbian romance between a middle-aged entomologist and her young assistant, who has drafted the older woman into a series of increasingly stilted BDSM fantasies. Strickland, best known for the crafty horror movie Berberian Sound Studio, indulges in some of the same narrative tricks he used in that release, playing with time, sound, and character perspective. But his new movie has more going on than cinematic mind games; as the older woman (Sidse Babett Knudsen in a fine performance) tires of the dominatrix role foisted upon her by the younger (Chiara D’Anna), there emerges a complex and troubled relationship in which love and desire become hopelessly entangled with, and compromised by, more mysterious needs.