Sade (2000)



Director:     Benot Jacquot

Starring:     Daniel Auteuil (Marquis de Sade), Marianne Denicourt (Sensible), Jeanne Balibar (Madame Santero), Grgoire Colin (Fournier)

1794, Marquis de Sade faces execution by Robespierre's regime.



Spoiler Warning:



Historical Background:


Donatien Alphonse Franois de Sade (the Marquis de Sade)    --  originator of the term sadism for his preference for the use of force, violence and/or torture in sexual acts.  He wrote pornographic manuscripts in the sadistic vein.  (He also wrote some philosophical works, but these also are tinged by his preference for sadism.  He believed in complete freedom to follow the pursuit of personal pleasure without being restrained by ethics, religion or the law.)


1740 -- Sade was born in the Cond palace, Paris, France to Comte de Sade and Marie Elnore Maill de Carman (a lady-in-waiting to the princess of Cond).

His uncle gave him his early education.  Later he went to a Jesuit lyce.

He was a soldier during the Seven Years' War.  and went on to follow a military career.

1763  --  he returned from the war.  He pursued a woman, but she rejected him.

1763  --  he had an arranged marriage to Rene-Pelagie de Montreuil, daughter of a rich magistrate. Together the couple had three children. 

1767  --  Sade's father died and Sade became the Comte de Sade.  He had a castle in Lacoste, Vaucluse.

Sade's sadism began to show.  He would abuse prostitutes and castle employees, both men and women. 

Later, Sade's wife helped him in his sadistic activities.  (He had an affair with his wife's sister.)

1772  --  Sade was sentenced to death for sodomy and poisoning, because in Marseille he had poisoned prostitutes (no one died, however) with "spanish fly".

1772  --  Sade fled to Italy.  Later he hid at Lacoste. His mother-in-law tried to get him arrested and many of his employees left. The father of one of the employees took a shot at the Marquis, but missed.

1777  --  Sade arrested and imprisoned in the dungeon of Vincennes.

1778  --  he successfully appealed his death sentence, but still had to remain in prison because of the charges brought by his mother-in-law. 

He escaped from prison, but was soon recaptured. In prison, he started to write.

1784  --  Sade transferred to the Bastille, Paris. 

1789 (July 2)  --  he caused a riot by shouting from his cell to the crowd outside, "They are killing the prisoners here!"

1789 (July 4)  --  Sade transferred to the insane asylum at Charenton near near Paris. During the transferal, the manuscript of his magnum opus, The 120 Days of Sodom, was lost.  Sade deeply despaired. 

1789  --  the Bastille was stormed during the French Revolution. 

1790  --  Sade was released from Charenton (because the new Constituent Assembly abolished the mother-in-law's lettre de cachet). Soon after, his wife divorced him. 

1790  -- he published several of his books anonymously.

Sade  met Marie-Constance Quesnet, a former actress and mother.  Her husband had been abandoned by her husband.  The two began a relationship and Constance and Sade stayed together for the rest of his life.

Sade was slowing down.  One possible reason for this was that he was now extremely obese.

Sade reconciled with the new regime in France and was able to get several positions in government (and this despite his aristocratic background). He was even able to get elected to the National Convention.  (He was appalled by the Reign of Terror in France.)

1792  --  his castle in Lacoste was sacked. 

1793  --  in order to get a position he wanted, he compromised with his beliefs and wrote an admiring eulogy for Jean-Paul Marat. 

Just how far Sade had grown accustomed to comprising with his beliefs is that he was accused of "moderatism" and imprisoned for over a year.

Probably due to an administrative error, he just did escape the guillotine. 

After the execution of Robespierre, one of the leaders of the Reign of Terror, Sade was released from prison.  

1796  --  Sade had to sell his castle in Lacoste because he was near destitution. 

1801 -- Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the arrest of the anonymous author of Justine and Juliette. Sade was arrested at his publisher's office and was imprisoned.

1803 the family had him declared insane and transferred to the asylum at Charenton. Constance lived with him at Charenton. In the asylum he put on several of his plays with inmate actors for the benefit of the Parisian public.

1810-1814  --  Sade began an affair with Charenton employee 13-year-old Madeleine Leclerc.

1814  --  death of Sade.  He was buried in Charenton.  Someone later took his skull for phrenological examination. His son burned Sade's unpublished manuscripts.



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