Marquis (1989), directed by Henri Xhonneux


This is NSFW or for children.

Marquis is a strange film, and it is certainly not for everyone. I watched it, of course, because I have a moderate interest in the Marquis de Sade. I’ve read some of his short stories and the novels Justine and Juliette, and got part of the way through 120 of Sodom. Perhaps one day soon I’ll pick it up again.

Anyway, Marquis is a highly fictionalized account of his time in the Bastille, but Wikipedia gives a good description of the movie, so I’ll just include it below.

Please note: This is not suitable for children or for anyone who is easily offended by sexuality or vulgarity.

From Wikipedia:
Marquis is a 1989 French-language film, produced in Belgium and France, based on the life and writings of the Marquis de Sade. All the actors wear animal masks, and their voices are dubbed. There are a few scenes involving clay animation.

In pre-revolutionary France, the canine Marquis de Sade sits in jail working on his writing and having conversations with his penis which has a face and is named Colin. When Colin is not whining about his need for stimulation and espousing his impulsive philosophies, he is "telling stories" that make up the Marquis' work (some of which is illustrated via clay animation).

The Marquis was imprisoned for allegedly defecating on a cross, however he is also accused of raping and impregnating the bovine Justine. The later is a plot by the camel-headed priest Don Pompero and the cocky Gaetan De Preaubois try to keep secret the fact that Justine's rapist was actually the King of France.

Meanwhile, the revolutionaries prepare to stage a coup and depose the king. Several of the inmates are also political prisoners leading to several failed escape attempts which land the inmates in the Bastille dungeon. They are eventually freed, however, by the revolutionaries.

Collin runs away with one of the revolutionaries leaving the Marquise to continue his writing and to muse about his life in peace.


Here is the only clip I can find with subtitles.


Here is another brief clip, but it is in German and without subtitles.

Tags: Bastille, French, Marquis de Sade, cinema, film, foreign film, movie

Views: 1774

Replies to This Discussion

Maybe it's just because I worked in an independant Cinéma de Répertoire in the 80s... But I loved so many French films in those years. Many of them had such strong and interesting literary foundations.

You are the first person I've known who's read Marquis. Fascinating. I hope to read him myself. I always felt the Marquis, to me, is like a modern day Eve. A human who's sexuality disturbed the orderly powers that be of society. A true test of human liberty.

I saw Salo: les 120 jours de sodome back then, incredibly difficult yet interesting movie.

I of course loved the Marquis.
Yes, I'm a FASCINATING person! : )

Interesting take on comparing him to Eve. However, I am under the impression that Sade was not into all these things he wrote about. Sure, he was a libertine on many levels, but it seems to me that I heard an interview, or saw a documentary, or something like that, in which the biographer said Sade was much too fastidious to be into coprophagia. He used these debauches more to satirize people in power, and to mock their corruption and hypocrisy.

IDK, don't quote me on any of that. Unless Sade wrote what he was thinking in a journal, I'm not sure we can ever clearly distinguish between desire and satire. He was certainly an interesting and complicated person, and I'd love to learn more about him. I did read his Wiki page years ago, and I've attempted to read Sade My Neighbor, but found it to be just too impenetrable (as was his other book, The Baphomet, which I did not finish either).

I got about half way through Salo (the movie) back in the 90s, but I cut out at the coprophagia part. I can deal with stuff like that more in text than in visuals. It was just a bit too much for me at the time. However, now that I'm much older, and probably less sensitive, I'd like to watch it again.

To be honest, I typically have a hard time with French intellectualism, literature, and film. I've seen and read my share of it -- including reading Bataille and watching Cocteau films, etc. -- but it is very much on a different wavelength that I am. I don't know how else to describe. All of it is very inaccessible, enigmatic, and just plain odd to me. It just doesn't rock my world.

I was raised by an anglo mom and a Québécois stepdad, in a very small Eastern Québec village. My mom was very anti-French and anti-Québécois, which affected my early view/appreciation of Québécois culture and by extension French culture (she has changed her ways now, to a point). Then I moved away from home and pretty much severed contact with my family for many years.


It was like being born anew. I loved it. It's around that time, 1983, that I discovered my fascination and admiration for all things French. So I guess you could call me a «born-again Frenchy». I exposed myself to much more French and Québécois culture than most other Québécois, it was like a feeding frenzy! Working in a Répertoire Cinema for those 5 years was huge in that process, I was watching 12 movies a week back then, mostly non-USA, so that all became very «internalised».


I agree that it's not so much his actions but his words that infuriated powers that be, wasn't meaning otherwise :)



I could just call you a faux frog. ; )

LOL :)


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