Spinema: Marquis (1989) [30 september]


MARQUIS   (1989)
Directed by Henri Xhonneuxmarquis
83 minutes
In French with English subtitles

This amazing French film from the late 80s caused quite a stir when it was released, but like so many other films it has been largely deleted from film history and is never screened anymore. It is loosely based on the writings of the notorious Marquis de Sade, as visualized by the powerful imagination of Roland Topor.”  He was was of Polish descent and was one of the principle surrealists in France in the 50s, and was a partner with Jodorowsky in the panic movement. Today he remains one of the most important graphic illustrators of the last century. He also was a writer, and Roman Polanski made an important film from one of his books called The Tenant.

This film takes place during the Marquis de Sade’s imprisonment in Paris, with the French Revolution as its background. The storytelling of Sade’s life is mixed with his imagination and fantasy. Strangely the film is a heavy mix of intellectualism about the nature of sexuality and revolution, but it is also filled with outrageously perverse sex scenes.

The movie is made in a totally unique and bizarre way… with animatronics (real people in costumes with faces which are animated), but also sometimes clay animation is employed. All the characters in this film are anthropomorphised animals, walking upright and played by human actors/dancers in elaborate costumes and masks. Thus, for example, Justine is a white mare, dressed in a dominatrix costume. The Marquis de Sade is a dog, and he has a huge penis which has an animated human face on it. This is where the intellectual part comes in, since The Marquis has philosophical arguments with his own cock.

There is certainly no other film like this one… and it will be a rare screening of course!

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