The Marquis de Sade is locked in the Charenton mental hospital and decides to put on a play. His overseers agree as long as he follows certain conditions. He writes and directs the other mental patients in a play based on the life of the Jean-Paul Marat. As the play progresses, the inmates become more and more possessed by the violence of the play and become extremely difficult to control. Finally, all chaos breaks loose. Written by
Marquis de Sade:
To me, the only reality is imagination; the world inside myself. The revolution no longer interests me.
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The opening credits - the play's title, stage credits and the actors appearing in the film - pop on the screen, one word at a time, until it is filled. The closing credits - the film's production staff - start off with a full screen of words; they then pop off the screen, one word at a time, until it is completely empty...just as it was when the film began. See more »
As vital and contemporary today as when it was first performed.
You do not need to know the details of French history to enjoy (?) this most astonishing and confrontational movie. Remember that this is a cinematic version of a play, and that Director Peter Brooks never loses sight of the physical presence and power that his original stage version was renowned for. Unlike many cinematic treatments of stage drama, this film is essentially theatre - the camera in fact intensifies the claustrophobic setting and puts the viewer in the front row. The performances are uniformly excellent : the intensity and conviction of the cast in their roles is exceptional. This is an emotionally draining, bravura movie that once seen, can not be forgotten.
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