It’s typically said that January (along with August) is just about the worst month for movie releases, mostly filled out by some studio duds, misfires, or nearly abandoned projects.  Well, as if to prove that idea wrong and shake things up a bit, here comes Peter Strickland’s critically-lauded erotic art film The Duke of Burgundy.  Starring Sidse Babett Knudsen and Chiara D’Anna, the film follows the S&M love affair between two women and what happens when the limits of that relationship are tested and pushed.

Strickland’s previous two films, Katalin Varga and Berberian Sound Studio, were successful genre pastiches, tackling the revenge drama and the Italian Giallo horror films of the 1970s.  Like those films, critics are calling The Duke of Burgundy an accomplished and well-crafted homage (a love story under the guise of ’70s erotic European art films) but believe this is Strickland’s best work yet.  Stylish, mesmerizing, and visually sumptuous, with the substance, performances, and kink to match, The Duke of Burgundy is already expected to pop up on many critics’ year-end lists for 2015.

If you’re like me and can’t wait to check this one out, or you rather not spend the money on a ticket but still want some good flicks to check out, here are five movies similar to The Duke of Burgundy.

*This film will be playing at the Brattle Theatre from 1/30 through 2/5.*

Mulholland Drive (directed by David Lynch, 2001)
David Lynch’s “love story in the city of dreams” is one of the best examples of what modern cinema can do, a surreal trip through Hollywood. Just don’t get lost trying to figure out what’s actually going on.

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1972)
An S&M women’s picture by way of German master filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder? More than just enticing.

Persona (directed by Ingmar Bergman, 1966)
Ingmar Bergman’s art-house classic should be on any cinephile’s “to watch” list. Its influence on film history can’t be understated.

The Piano Teacher (directed by Michael Haneke, 2001)
Michael Haneke, the king of unflinching human brutality and discomfort, creates his spin on the psychosexual drama, following the toxic relationship between a piano professor and a student.

Amer (directed by Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani, 2009)
While this film mostly flew under the radar upon its American release, its overabundance of visceral and surreal style should be noted.