Cover of Dangerous Liaisons
By Hugo La Rosa
“Dangerous Liaisons” is a movie about the sexual misconduct of noble people in rococo France of the 1700’s. The original story by the French writer Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (1741-1782), was first published by Durand Publishers, in Paris, and entitled: “Les Liaisons Dangereuses.” Directed by Stephen Frears, the movie script written by Christopher Hampton — with Glen Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer as the protagonists–, was right on the money, for the film was an astounding success at the box offices around the world.
The famous actress Glen Close plays the tormented Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil, a sexually liberated widow, whose ample leisure time and luxuries center her interests on what she thinks she needs the most: sex in any quantity and quality. Her life of lustful endeavors places her in a match with Vicomte Sebastien de Valmont, a vicious and libertine personage whose greatest gratification was to beguile society women to his own pleasure-seeking world.
The movie sets up its action among the aristocratic elite of France before the revolution. The camera follows closely the sneaky whereabouts of the unprincipled, but “lucky” womanizer, Vicomte Sebastien de Valmont. Obviously, with Marquise Merteuil, they make a match made in hell. Theirs is clearly, what nowadays we might call an open relationship.
Noble people, at that time, and at those lavish mansions and parties, carried and played sex to satiation. Unlike Valmont who was well known in those circles as an unscrupulous libertine, the figure of Merteuil had to go behind the closets, in the shadows, for she had to keep appearances, as the feminine and “delicate” figure she had to respond to, given her hypocritical noble claims.
The dialogue interaction in the movie script carries on exquisitely and agile, and denotes in great measure the melancholic and decadent tone of the era. This is a movie to remember, and even though on the surface seems to be dedicated to glorify sexual misconduct, in the end, when the house of cards falls for both partners, leaves nothing behind them or in their future.
No wonder the movie won 3 Oscars, 12 other wins, and 14 nominations.
America placed so much interest in the movie, telling the whole world how this gripping tale of forbidden love, speaks to the mainstream public, even today. Maybe, we too, live in dangerous times, and are probably making Dangerous Liaisons, are we not?