Back to top


Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Caine, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Malahide, Amelia Warner, Jane Menelaus, Stephen Moyer, Pauline McLynn
Marquis de Sade | Abbé de Coulmier
Spoiler alert
Blog entry

Writer Marquis de Sade tells us "The story of Mademoiselle Renare... whose sexual proclivities ran the gamut from winsome to bestial." (0:00)

Sign: "The Charenton Asylum for the Insane." (0:04)

Laundry maid Madeleine walks past inmates in the asylum. (0:06)

His advisor Delbené tells Emperor Napoleon, "The novel's lewd subject matter and... reveal it to be the work of Marquis de Sade. He composes his prose from inside a madhouse."

"Put the Marquis to death, and history might even regard you as a despot."
"Nevertheless, cure the Marquis de Sade... Might I suggest an appraisal at the asylum of Charenton?... Dr. Royer-Collard, a distinguished alienist..."
Dr. Royer-Collard justifies "an aggressive course of treatment" as he supervises the dunking of a patient in an iron chair. (0:10)

Madeleine tells a group of friends, referring to Marquis de Sade, "He's a writer, not a madman." (0:14)

Inmates paint. Art therapy?
The Abbé tells patient Dauphin, "It's far better to paint fires than to set them, isn't it?" Pyromaniac? (0:15)

Marquis de Sade tells Madeleine his new story about "a darling of the lower wards where they entomb the criminally insane." (0:19)

Inmate Cleante tells the Abbé, "There's but one kind of bird in a madhouse, Abbé." (0:20) 

Inmates sing under the direction of the Abbé. Music therapy? (0:24) 

Marquis de Sade rehearses the inmates in a play. Drama therapy?
Royer-Collard tells the Abbé, "Playing dress-up with cretins sounds like a symptom of madness, not a cure."
Marquis de Sade: "Welcome to our humble madhouse, doctor."
The Abbé tells Royer-Collard, "Better to have an insane spouse than a criminal one."
Royer-Collard: "What effect have all the amenities had on his psyche?"
Abbé: "It's essential to his recovery..."
Royer-Collard: "You could try my calming chair on him." (0:27)

Marquis de Sade tells the Abbé, "But you implored me to write... to stave off my madness"
Abbé: "I have your fellow patients to consider."
"What's the point of all your valiant attempts at rehabilitation?" (0:30)

Male patient with facial tic. (0:42)

A patient introduces the play "written by... the Marquis de Sade." (0:44)

Royer-Collard reprimands the Abbé: "Charenton is a sanatorium, not a circus."
"And as for your friend, playwright emeritus of the madhouse..."
"... the inmates are indeed running the asylum." (0:50)

Marquis de Sade tells the Abbé's assistant Valcour, referring to de Sade's wife Renee, "Perhaps you'll find a place for her... among the hysterics." (0:56)

Royer-Collard tells Renee, "My schedule is not subject to the whims of lunatics."
Renee: "You work in a madhouse. Your every waking moment is governed by the insane."
Royer-Collard: "... nary a penny left over for appropriate treatments: opiates to quell his temper, restraints to chasten him when he misbehaves." (0:57)

Marquis de Sade tells a story of necrophilia. (1:05)

Madeleine tells Royer-Collard, referring to her blind mother, "Soaking sheets for lunatics has cost this woman her sight." (1:07)

Inmates in their dining room. (1:15)

Madeleine tells the Abbé, "It's a hard day's wages slaving away for madmen." (1:20)

Royer-Collard's young wife Simone: "Tell him if he discovers our whereabouts, you'll slit your wrists with a razor, and I'll plunge a hat pin into my heart." (1:27)

Marquis de Sade treated with the calming chair. (1:28)

Marquis de Sade: "My glorious prose filtered through the minds of the insane." (1:34)

Dauphin sets the asylum afire with a candle. (1:36)

The Abbé grieves the death of Madeleine.
Phrenology busts on a table. (1:43)

A surgeon preparing to operate on Marquis de Sade tells the Abbé, "Opium to numb the pain."
The Abbé beats his head against the door, then flogs himself in his chambers. (1:47)

Marquis de Sade swallows a cross and dies. Suicide?
Royer-Collard tells the new Abbé, "The compulsive inmates set the type." (1:54)