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Sade (2000) - Benoît Jacquot

Related: sadomasochism - sadomasochism in mainstream cinema - Marquis de Sade - French cinema

Sade (2000) - Benoît Jacquot [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Daniel Auteuil and Isild Le Besco


Adapted by Jacques Fieschi and Bernard Minoret from the novel La terreur dans le boudoir by Serge Bramly, Sade, released in 2000, is a Benoît Jacquot directed dramatic film about the preparations of the Marquis de Sade to be transferred to a detention center and rest home where he will relive one more time the highlights of his youth. It takes place during the reign of terror in France and stars Daniel Auteuil as the Marquis. His performance of the eccentric writer is very restrained and dignified in contrast with other accounts of the Marquis by other actors in other films.

His love interest is Emilie de Lancris, played by Isild Le Besco. She has travelled there with her parents and in her youth wants to learn and chooses the Marquis to be her guide into an unknown world.

Sade has been considered one of the underrated films that have come from France lately. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sade_%28film%29 [Aug 2005]

Amazon review

"Only in excess can one find liberty." Oh, that's right--the Marquis de Sade wasn't just a freaky-deaky sex fiend, he was also a philosopher. And that's the side illuminated in Sade, a marvelously chewy look at an episode from the life of the indecent marquis. In 1794, after the Revolution, Robespierre has imprisoned Sade in a comfortable old nunnery, along with some royalists. Daniel Auteuil's superb performance in the title role brings a lifetime of scandalous living to Sade's face, and he makes the man utterly unapologetic. By the time Sade deflowers a fascinated young woman, the act is more a defiant political statement (for both of them) than a naughty roll in the hay. This is another good one from director Benoît Jacquot (A Single Girl, Seventh Heaven), whose work always manages to be calm but passionate. It certainly tops Quills, another look at the enigma of Sade. --Robert Horton

IMDb review

Summary: Well-made but a suspect thesis
While there is much to admire in the performances, writing, and photography (especially the way the Marquis' sometimes greenish-black hue contrasts to Emilie's fair skin), the central thesis of the film is a little hard to swallow. Setting the story right at the nadir of revolutionary excess, where the nobility are being decapitated in the hundreds, the film-makers advance the notion that all the raping, maiming, and torturing in Sade's books are merely a joyous upwelling of the Life Forces amidst so much horror, like William Blake writing in a refugee camp. Yet this can only be made by transforming Sade from the bloodthirsty, all-screwing libertine that he was into a supercilious chattering class of one, a Cassandra who sees life even in the maggots swarming in his prison cell. Glimpses of his work are few and almost coy, while the sexual adventures of the other detainees get the full scan as neurotic and hypocritical. However they did recapture the dark wit that suffused Justine, and it that respect the Marquis is almost sympathetic. ----Alcibiade del Mezzogiorno via http://us.imdb.com/Title?0217019 [Jan 2005]

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