Alongside “Quills,” another tale from the life of the Marquis de Sade, this time about a decade earlier. This time French director Benoit Jacquot is at the helm, with the wonderful Daniel Auteuil in the title role, and the result is a clever, complicated story about post-revolutionary France as told through the eyes of a man who has thrown out his faith and morality along with the old regime. It’s earthy, gritty and thoroughly involving as Sade worms his way into the lives of those around him, all of whom are former nobility awaiting the guillotine (costars include the marvellous and gorgeous Marianne Denicourt and Gregoire Colin).
“Sade” is a fiercely clever and subtle film, capturing the precarious balance between the extravagant confidence of the exiled aristocracy and the cruel earnestness of the victorious revolutionaries. It is also, like Sade himself, utterly unblinking in the face of extreme pain and sexuality.