Justine is a nubile young virgin cast out of a French orphanage and thrust into a depraved world of prostitution, predatory lesbians, a fugitive murderess, bondage, branding, and one ...
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Justine is a nubile young virgin cast out of a French orphanage and thrust into a depraved world of prostitution, predatory lesbians, a fugitive murderess, bondage, branding, and one supremely sadistic monk. It's a twisted tale of strange desires, perverse pleasures and the ultimate corruption of innocence as told by the Marquis de Sade. Written by
"Justine: Cruel Passion" is much better than expected. This 1977 film version turns out to be very faithful to it's source material, in this case the writings of the Marquis De Sade. His tale of a young innocent, cast into the cruel, corrupt World when her parents die, is certainly a grim one. Koo Stark does surprisingly well at portraying virginal innocence, disgusted by the violence and vice surrounding her. The more she resists, the harder she is pursued by the corrupt people in her midst. Stark really is good here; she doesn't overplay it, she never comes across as unbelievably naive and innocent. Overdoing it might have made it seem silly to care for Justine. I was rather expecting a trashy excuse to show wall to wall soft core sex, but "Cruel Passion" turns out to be rather tame in that regard, which probably explains the low ratings here. Any viewer looking to get a lot of nudity and sex out of this production might be a bit disappointed. What we have instead is a very handsomely filmed, Gothic/Victorian "bodice ripper," only with a surprisingly bleak and grim conclusion, that I was not expecting. Beautiful sets and costumes, mist shrouded countrysides, and a fine utilization of it's classical soundtrack, all come together to make an above average film that is essentially about the loss of innocence. Entire passages are taken verbatim from the Marquis De Sade, resulting in dialog that is at times poetic. The story of Justine was filmed several times, but this 1977 version remains the most faithful to the original writings. Recommended for anyone interested in the writings of Sade, as well as fans of Gothic and erotic films.
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