Sade, based on the Serge Bramly novel of the same title, is an account of how the famous philanthropist and infamous pornographer met, befriended and fell in love with a young woman during his incarceration.
"Only in excess can one find liberty." Oh, that's right--the Marquis de Sade wasn't just a freaky-deaky sex fiend, he was also a philosopher. And that's the side illuminated in Sade, a marvelously chewy look at an episode from the life of the indecent marquis. In 1794, after the Revolution, Robespierre has imprisoned Sade in a comfortable old nunnery, along with some royalists. Daniel Auteuil's superb performance in the title role brings a lifetime of scandalous living to Sade's face, and he makes the man utterly unapologetic. By the time Sade deflowers a fascinated young woman, the act is more a defiant political statement (for both of them) than a naughty roll in the hay. This is another good one from director Benoît Jacquot (A Single Girl, Seventh Heaven), whose work always manages to be calm but passionate. It certainly tops Quills, another look at the enigma of Sade. --Robert Horton