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Original title
Running time
120 min.
United States United States
Doug Wright (Play: Doug Wright)
Stephen Warbeck
Rogier Stoffers
, , , , , , , , , ,
Fox Searchlight
Drama | Costume Drama. Biography. French Revolution. 18th Century
Synopsis / Plot
You are about to embark on a gothic tale of virtue and vice, of comedy and terror, of love and shocking erotica, of brutal censorship and, ultimately, the uncrushable spirit of the human imagination. Be forewarned. This is the imagined story of the final days of the Marquis De Sade, the writer, rebel and sensualist who explored the darkest, even criminal, impulses of human passions and was proclaimed at once among the most devilish monsters and the freest spirits the world has known.

Historical biographies tell us that in the Marquis’ last decade, the man whose name was synonymous with sadistic lust fell in love, and that the maverick libertine who celebrated expression at all costs was almost silenced. Banished to the Charenton Asylum for the insane, the Marquis De Sade continued to write his blasphemous novels... until a new doctor was brought in to "cure" him of his wicked desires. But where history leaves off, QUILLS sets out on a daring journey into the corridors of Charenton Asylum and deep inside the Marquis De Sade’s forbidden cell, in which everything but the very act of creation could be caged.

Director PHILIP KAUFMAN ("The Right Stuff," "The Unbearable Lightness of Being") brings to life the Marquis De Sade’s seductive, sinister world with a cautionary tale about what happens to the light of Charenton when the doctors attempt to shut out the darkness. The screenplay is by DOUG WRIGHT, based on his award-winning play which was acclaimed by critics not only as a provocative comedic thriller but as a modern metaphor about freedom of expression and civil liberties. Academy Award winner GEOFFREY RUSH stars as the witty yet wicked Marquis De Sade, who is living in exile in his own posh suite at the Charenton Asylum. Here, he has befriended the progressive young asylum director Abbe Coulmier (JOAQUIN PHOENIX), a man ahead of his times, who believes in treating his patients humanely, providing means for creative expression. In this atmosphere, the Marquis has also found it easy to strike up a friendship with the comely young laundress Madeleine (KATE WINSLET), who helps him to smuggle out his prolific writings for publication - and whose innocent affections are equally enjoyed by the conflicted Abbe.
2000: 3 Nominations for Oscar: Best Actor (Geoffrey Rush), Costume Design, Art Direction
2000: 2 Nominations for Golden Globe: Best Actor - Drama (Geoffrey Rush), Screenplay
2000: 2 Awards National Board of Review: Libertad of expresión, Supporting Actor
2000: 4 Nominations for BAFTA Awards, including Best Costume Design and Make-up
2000: Critics' Choice Awards: Best Supporting Actor (Phoenix). 2 Nominations
2000: Screen Actors Guild (SAG): Nominated for Best Actor (Rush) & Sup. Actress (Winslet)
2000: Chicago Films Critics Awards: Nominated for Best Actor (Geoffrey Rush)
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