Trading eighteenth-century France for 1930s Shanghai, Korean director Jin-ho Hur’s glossy erotic masquerade puts a fresh spin on the scintillating literary classic by Choderlos de Laclos. No matter the time or place, the story’s tangled web of love and deceit helplessly draws us in, resonating far beyond the age in which it was written. In this new DANGEROUS LIAISONS, Xie Yifan (Jang Dong-gun) is Valmont, the charismatic libertine. Mo Jieyu (Cecelia Cheung) is Marquise de Merteuil, the affluent femme fatale bracing herself for beauty’s expiration date. And Du Yufen (Zhang Ziyi) is Madame de Tourvel, the innocent human collateral haplessly caught in the cynical sexual gamesmanship between these two erotic schemers — but victim becomes victor when the beautiful young widow is able to inspire true love from the seducer who had elected her as the pawn in his nefarious game.
Beyond expertly exploiting the era’s luxurious atmosphere, Hur Jin-ho employs Laclos’ narrative framework to critique the age’s rampant decadence and elitism. So the vagaries of desire crash against the vagaries of politics, and both deal devastating blows to the unsuspecting people caught in history’s tide. In updating DANGEROUS LIAISONS, Hur draws us into a rush of intoxicating images and the pleasures of torrid, absorbing drama.
Synopsis written by: TIFF