Saturday, February 13, 2016

Marquis- A Puppet Film about the Marquis de Sade

            Now here is a truly unique film, brought to us by our French cousins and their unique sensibilities. This is a film about Donatien Alphonse François, the  Marquis de Sade done in an unusual style of puppetry, live actors wearing animatronic masks, and some limited clay animation.

            The film was the brainchild of Roland Torpor who created the imagery and story for the 1973 cult classic La Planète Sauvage, or in English Fantastic Planet. For those who remember it, the film was a wild ride of bizarre visual and fascinating spiritual concepts, which took place on a distant planet where Humans were bred as domesticated pets for a giant blue race of aliens. I will do a full article on this at a later date.

            Marquis is a different take on life as if partially based on the philosophical writing of de Sade. In pre-revolutionary France, the Marquis de Sade sits in the Bastille working on his writing and having conversations with his penis named Colin. When Colin is not whining about his need for stimulation and espousing his impulsive philosophies, he is "telling stories" that make up the Marquis' work. The symbolism is pretty thick here, but in tune with De Sade’s writings, which were never subtle.

A close up of Colin
de Sade was imprisoned for shitting on a cross. Additionally he is accused of raping and impregnating the bovine Justine. The latter is a plot by a priest to try to keep secret the fact that Justine's rapist was actually the King of France. These lead to some truly weird sex scenes, including where the Marquis fucks a hole in a talking wall with his penis; or where he has anal sex with a guard using a lobster; or of the guard masturbating milk from the cow heroine’s udders.

Meanwhile, the revolutionaries prepare to stage a coup and depose the king, under the lead of Juliette, an equine noble. Several of the inmates are also political prisoners (including a police chief imprisoned for selling bad pork) leading to several failed escape attempts which land the inmates in the Bastille dungeon. They are eventually freed, however, by the revolutionaries.

Colin eventually falls in love with Juliette and runs away with her to continue the revolution, leaving the Marquis to continue his writing and to muse about his life in peace.

Naturally this is not meant to be taken in anyway as recreating of the Marquis de Sade’s life, but represents his mental state and the state of France during his time in the Bastille. It is a sympathetic look at de Sade. The film takes a Romantic position of a man of intellect and letters warring with his sexual drive (and even has an end when his penis takes off to find a life of its own).

In truth the Marquis de Sade had no such conflict between mind and flesh. His work could not be regarded as something pure and aside from his baser urges and were in fact fueled by his urges to drive deeper into literary depravity. As is show in the fact that his most savage work, The 120 Days of Sodom, which was the basis for the film Salo (reviewed here) was written in the Bastille.

This film is incredibly NSFW, but should be experienced by anyone who want to watch something very different.

Enjoy and Caveat Emptor!
                                                Full film is here.