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Based on the true story of the notorious Marquis de Sade. In eighteenth century Paris, an innocent beauty's search for her missing sister leads her into the deadly sensuous realm of the ... See full summary »
Many noble families are locked in a chateau due to the French Revolution. The infamous Marquis de Sade is there and is generally shunned by the others. A teen-aged girl befriends him behind her parents back and learns about him and life in general. He initiates her into sexual exploration and leads her to become an independent, sexually-liberated woman. Written by
No doubt highly fictionalized, but excellent movie
This semi-biographical/semi-fictional account of the Marquis of de Sade (the great Daniel Autiel) is set during the "reign of terror" period of the French Revolution. The Jacobin revolutionaries had no idea what to do with Sade, who had been freed from the Bastile in 1789, but was also a symbol of the decadence of the noble class with his undisguised atheism, his sex crimes that had scandalized even the other decadent nobles, and above all his scandalous, decadent, and blasphemous plays and novels. So they put him into a "asylum"/prison on the estate of a hypocritical/opportunistic nobleman-doctor, along with a lot of other noble families hiding out from the terror (and paying financially for the privilege). There they reassert the old order, for instance, with wealthier noblemen taking liberty with the pretty young wives of poorer nobleman. Sade meanwhile tries to put on his scandalous plays under the aegis of the new regime and supposedly to preach AGAINST atheism. This movie covers roughly the same territory as "Marat/Sade" and "Quills", but drops any idea of Sade actually being insane. Here he is portrayed as quite sane--and even heroic--in comparison to the hypocrites surrounding him.
This particular movie focuses less on his work though and more on two fictionalized (if not entirely fictional) subplots. One involves Sade's manipulation of the mother of his child, who is now the mistress of a high-ranking Jacobin, "Fournier", who she in turn manipulates to save Sade from the guillotine. "Fournier" is a sympathetic character, a child of the revolution who is doomed to be eaten by it, and Sade indirectly but skillfully manipulates him like a character in his one of his plays.
The perhaps more interesting and certainly more sexy story involves Sade befriending the young daughter of a rich nobleman (Isild LeBesco), who he seems to simultaneously be sexually debauching for his own amusement while also saving her from the guillotine by getting her pregnant by other men (of lowlier social stations, of course). 17-year-old LeBesco is absolutely incredibly here. First off, is her truly unique looks--she is pale and blue-eyed, but actually part Asian, and is capable of looking both "ugly" and very beautiful. Second, is her voluptuous body which is just unambiguously beautiful (and not surprisingly, she shows it off a lot in her movies). Most significantly though is her ACTING. She goes toe-toe with Auteil as a precocious young girl who is intellectually Sade's equal, but still a virgin naïf in sexual matters. Her "deflowering" scene is absolutely incredible as once again Sade conducts a near-orgy like it's one of his plays.
This probably isn't the most historically accurate account of the Marquis De Sade (having read of the truly appalling "120 Days of Sodom", I have trouble believing the real guy was this moral and NOT in some sense insane). But it's a very enjoyable movie.
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