"I didn't create this world of ours! I merely recorded it!"
Marquis de Sade, Quills

Quills, released in 2000, is a movie directed by Philip Kaufman, and written by Doug Wright, who also wrote the play that the movie is based on. Quills is a fictional account of the Marquis de Sade's stay in the Charenton Asylum.

The movie begins with the Marquis de Sade's account of a high noblewoman being executed at the guillotine, for her sexual crimes. Where the movie first introduces, the Marquis's style of writing.

A chambermaid, Madeleine, helps the Marquis de Sade to deliver his books to a publisher. She seems to only help him, because like many other people in France, wants to read his stories. The gentle headmaster of the Charenton Asylum, Abbe Coulmier, is quite aware of the Marquis's writing, but not of its publication. Unfortunatly, the publication, Justine, reaches the ears of Napoleon, ruler of France.

One of his advisors convinces him to send a new person to help watch over the asylum, Dr. Royer-Collard. A rather torturous "psychologist", and one of gentleman nature on the outside, but in his bedchamber..

The story follow the Marquis as his right to write, is slowly taken away, piece by piece, and how he revolts against it.

This is a tale of censorship, religon, the effects of media upon people, and many other themes. A wonderful tale, but not for the ones with weak stomachs, for violence and rather vulgar language is the way of Sade.

Main Cast:
Geoffrey Rush - The Marquis de Sade
Kate Winslet - Madeleine
Joaquin Phoenix - Abbe Coulmier
Michael Caine - Dr. Royer-Collard
Billie Whitelaw - Madame LeClerc
Patrick Malahide - Delbene
Amelia Warner - Simone
Jane Menelaus - Renee Pelagie
Stephen Moyer - Prouix
Tony Pritchard - Valcour
Michael Jenn - Cleante
Danny Babington - Pitou
George Yiasoumi - Dauphin
Stephen Marcus - Bouchon
Elizabeth Berrington - Charlotte

Quills is a must-see movie for anyone who's ever felt completely frustrated by their inability to explain or understand their compulsion to write.

The fact that the author in the troika of author, reader, critic in Quills' plot is the Marquis de Sade only serves to furnish the film with the vivid means to illustrate a writer's inability to not write the stories within, regardless of the nature of those stories or the tortures to which the author might be subjected by critics, especially if said critics happen to have him or her held captive in a lunatic asylum (in this case, the infamous Charenton) equipped with lots of nasty implements of medical torture.

It's not a film about de Sade's writings. It's about his need (and the general human need) to write. It's about the deep and hungry human need to hear stories, and the complex nature of this need. It's also about the paradoxes of sadism and sanity, most frequently illustrated in the context of repeated references to St. Augustine's theory that the demonic and the angelic are equally represented in the soul of every individual. It's about judgment, and redemption. It's about innocence and experience, as in William Blake's Songs of same. Take all of this and matrix or mathem them; because Quills is about all their varied interactions.

But mostly, it's about writing.

I just saw this film on DVD last night, and I'm still rocking, rolling, and reeling. I'm being thin on details about the film because almost anything specific would be a terrible spoiler - everything is that beautifully interconnected in the narrative structure of the script.

But I have to warn you, dear noder, in case you're currently balancing on any kind of edge and are endeavoring to keep your balance: be prepared for some truly haunting, possibly indelible, and certainly enduring images and utterances.

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