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“Dangerous Liaisons” is a drama film bases on Christopher Hampton's play. It stared Michele Pfeifer and other actors the film was received well and was awarded three of the academy awards it had been nominated for. The three were best adapted screen play, best costume and best art direction. This film was widely successful in that its budget was 14million dollars and its returns were 34million dollars. Not only on the part of returns, it also reached a vast audience and thus passing the plays original intended meaning to a larger group of people. This film also had as supporting actors Keanu Reeves and Uma Thurman.
Love and sex in Dangerous Liaisons
The plot of the movie is a plot of love and seduction. Where the characters are all intertwined in a web of emotion for each other, this brings out other filings of jealousy and manipulation. There are two women in this that one can assume are great fiends at the beginning of the story but in the end we are not told o their relationship. It is seen in the film Valmont forcing himself on Cecile. Cecile is a girl in the film who is has been betrothed to someone else and is in love with Chevalier Raphael Danceny her music teacher. When this act of sexual violation happens she is sickened by it and her mother notices and when she discovers all that is going on she encourages her daughter to keep the relationship going. However, the daughter gets pregnant and Mr. Valmont is not happy with this. Luckily, she has a miscarriage and this evades the scandal.
When Valmont leaves the young girl, he embarks on a relentless mission to take Madame de Tourvel as his next lover. The well known womanizer succeeds but this time he falls in love with the beautiful woman. Unfortunately fait does not allow him to enjoy his happiness for too long Merteuil a woman who had promised Valmont a night with her had he succeeded in deflowering the young Cecile threatens to ruin Valmont’s reputation if he does not end it with Madame de Tourvel. When he breaks up with Madame de Tourvel she is so heartbroken that she becomes sick. Valmont goes to his supposed new lover and demands that she fulfill her end of the barging. She refuses and by this time, she has taken Cecile’s music teacher as her lover.
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When she refuses, war is declared. During this war, the Madame discloses to Danceny all what had happened between Valmont and Cecile. On learning this, the teacher and the womanizer decide to duel and the heart broken Valmont allows Danceny to mortally wound him. However, before he dies Valmont asks tells Danceny the true nature of his fillings for his former lover and asks him to convey the information to her giving him a bunch of letters. Danceny goes to Madame de Tourvel and conveys the information. Which after she hears the poor woman dies having succumbed to her illness. Danceny goes further to publish Merteuil’s letters. The letters disgrace her and she I shunned by society.
In this play it is apparently clear that nobody is a saint. All the characters in the film have their share of faults. Cecile betrays the trust of her betrothed when she continues to have an affair with Valmont. Danceny betrays his heart’s desire by not fighting for the love he so deserved even killed for at the end of the story. Valmont it goes without saying is probably the worst of them all even though at the end of it all his nature caught up with him and he prefers to die that to live with himself and the things he had done. The women are all victims of deceit and they all practice deceit and sadly promiscuity. At the end of the story no crime committed against another goes unanswered for all offenders pay with their lives and their reputations.
In this story we see the artist’s character evolve from writing safe plays to writing plays that depict the true nature of life at the time. People would do such things behind the cover of darkness and hope they would not be discovered. This play write was among the first to express the sexual nature of the woman as a being. In this story the women are more independent that they were at the time this story was written. Women back then were owned by men and could not do or own anything without the knowledge of their husbands. Here we see a whole new breed of women who even have power over the man in this story. In this play the artist must have encountered a lot of opposition for the way he depicted society it was a brave and new thing that helped to open the minds of many to the deceitful nature of the society they so believed was perfect. The sexual nature of this story must have been the most surprising aspect coz by that time the documentation of sex and promiscuity must have been a taboo.
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The art at the time this play was written was quite confined and restricted. Art cannot have true meaning if it does not depict truth. If the art lies then the artist himself is liar. Art is supposed to be free spirited. Art is appealing to the general public because it does not hide but tells the truth about the matter. At this time women were discriminated against and their rights up to now in some parts of the world have still up to know not been achieved. The play like all others is a tragedy and it ultimately shows our inability to cope with new freedoms awarded to us. The best example is the character played by Michele Pfeiffer. She was awarded freedom from her husband and she abused the freedom that led to her death in the end. This play gives us a glimpse into the sufferings of women at that time both from society and resulting from their own choices.
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