Synopsis: 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.
Director(s): Benoît Jacquot
Production: Empire Pictures
  2 wins & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
100 min

The past encourages me,

the present galvanizes me.

I have little fear of the future.

Saint-Lazare Prison

Forgetting my barber?

Later, citizen, wait your turn.

- What is the weather like?

- Cool, but the sun is out.

It's the end. Will you pray with us, sir?

Sorry, but I'm not superstitious.

Don't speak to him!

He has a handsome face.

To have f***ed so little...

You respect nothing.

I respect life.

But death rules here.

No, look around you.

Life is everywhere.

Even in the prison lice.

Citizen Sade!

I am not a noble.

You have a fief in Provence.

I have some land.

Take this down, citizen.

All my ancestors exercised

the honest occupation of farmer.

Your children emigrated.

When I last saw them,

they were 6 and 4 years old.

But if they have emigrated,

I abhor them and abandon them

to public anathema.

As you can see, I don't believe it.

I spent 15 years in prisons,

the victim of royal despotism.

On what grounds?

The reign of the arbitrary

blindly struck out at all lovers of liberty.

But I know how precious your time is.

You've read my letter of 18 Ventse?

I was vice-president of the Pike Section.

I represented it at the Convention.

I penned a eulogy to Marat...

You speak and write a good deal.

You're a man of letters, you say.

You know this book?

"The libertine's frenzy only increased...

"He opened a closet

containing several whips,

"withdrew one with a steel tip,

"which made me tremble..."


The printer was judged.

He was guillotined.

Did you know?

It's a defense of crime,

the most bestial debauchery, and atheism.

Who is the guiltier,

the printer or the author?

Rumor has it that you are the author.

Come now, citizen,

I appeal to your good sense.

Is the same person likely to extol

virtue among its great men

and vice in a novel?

No one can be divided in such a way

without going mad.

Take him away.

- It's not much!

- And "fraternity"?

Get in.

I fear, sir, we must share the same carriage,

and the same fate, perhaps.

Do you know our destination?

You don't know?

To Citizen Coignard's, at Picpus.

A house where we won't have a key?

A sort of clinic.

What afflictions do they treat?

Diseases that are part of the current climate.

You know...

There is company in which one is gladly ill.

It's the times that are sick, sir. Not us.

Viscount de Lancris.

That's how I was once addressed.

My wife,

and my daughter, Emilie.


We'll report the coachman is drunk.

Picpus Convent

- Avoid that man.

- Why?

I'll tell you later.

Citizen Coignard, who runs Picpus.

He's in charge of your detention.

The court report on the prisoners.

I'll be back in ten days.

Citizens, this is my wife.

Viscount de Lancris?

Your agent is here.

My lord...

I took the liberty of levying

your boarding costs. Was I right to?

We'll show you to your rooms.

They're spacious

and look out on the grounds.

Lancris, my friend!

I feared the worst, but you're here!

At what price!

I expected you without realizing it.

Hello, Emilie.

Poor child. This is her youth.

The Duchess de Villars Brancas is here!

The guillotine didn't kill off the species.

You'd exterminate it?

How you said that!

I've saved many a head in the Pike Section!

- You took part?

- Why not?

History in the making is beautiful.

Come, Emilie!

I'm not to speak to you.

I'll speak for two.

- Sade.

- I know.

- Your warm welcome touches me...

- You're a special case.

Meals are served in the common room.

Dinners are allowed in your rooms,

but you'd have to pay the caterer.

It's high.

I counted 72 steps.

You're down at the end.

Citizen Coignard.

You must let me speak to you.

I told your husband, board isn't free.

Give us a little more time.

We can take smaller rooms.

I know you're sensitive to suffering.

Rules are rules.

Making an exception

would be failing my charge.

Pretty lady. Her tears seem genuine.

She played tragedy in the provinces.

I can imagine her cries.

You're not moved by all this pain?

I don't claim feudal rights.

- You should.

- Don't joke with that.

Your room.

A nun's cell.

This was a convent once.

They lived here like bats in the belfry.

Would you rather return to Saint Lazare?

Tell me why I'm here.

I needn't answer you.

The Republic granted you special favors.

The Republic can hear

of your partial treatment.

Beware, citizen.

Favors can easily be withdrawn.

This is a prison, after all.

Insolence won't be tolerated.

Are they lemon trees?

- Yes.

- I had some back home in Provence.

Prune them twice yearly.

A necessary mutilation.

Put it down here, please.

The bedding is acceptable.

Sheets... yes, they're here.

Emilie, take the next room.

We'll be fine here.

It's a trap closing in on us.

There's even a spinet.

Emilie, what are you doing?

Paris, Gravilliers Street

Finish your food.

I'm not hungry, I'm sleepy.

Good evening, child.

Shall I put him to bed?

Don't bring him next time.

I can't leave him with anyone.

Your marquis isn't his father?

No. I told you, I only met him 3 years ago.

He reached Picpus safely?

Don't worry, the beast is at rest.

Thank you.

I promised you.

You're brutal.

Forgive me.

He's nearly twice your age.

Is it out of habit or pity?

He was good to us.

He had a chambermaid at home

and in his bed.

His reputation follows him like the pox.

He's calmed down since.

They say he writes.

What does he write?

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Serge Bramly

Serge Bramly (born 31 January 1949 in Tunis, Tunisia) is a French-language writer and essayist. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Sade" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 15 Jun 2024. <>.

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