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Home | Film Review: Justine De Sade (1972)

Film Review: Justine De Sade (1972)

Justine de Sade (1972)SYNOPSIS:

Therese, a beautiful but naive young girl, who finds herself being passed around from depraved pervert to depraved pervert, enduring just about every kind of sexual degradation there is while still believing that some kind stranger will eventually help her.


Marques De Sade is widely considered the most controversial writer to put ink on paper. The fact that this is still considered true 200 years after his death is pretty impressive. The word sadism has its origins from Sade’s name. His work is chock full of the deprived and sexually disturbing. Sex and violence, sex and violence. If you’re not familiar with him go google away for a few hours. I have read several works by the author but haven’t gotten to Justine just yet, although I am familiar with the story. Marques De Sade published the book in 1791 under the pseudonym Donatien Aphonse Francois de Sade in an attempt to hide his identity. Marques De Sade would eventually spend the last 13 years of his life in prison for having written the novel. There have been around a dozen attempts to adapt Sade’s work to film with mostly underwhelming results, the exception being Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom. It is not easy to work with material that in some ways is a repetition of filth, involving many scenes that only P*rn actors would agree to shoot. I would argue that Justine De Sade should be ranked in a distant second place of films based on Sade’s writings.

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Justine De Sade is a story about a young innocent virginal orphan girl who is passed around as a servant from one aristocratic man to another. Starting at the age of 15, she finds herself time and time again falling into the position of sex slave who succumbs to rape, humiliation, physical abuse, torture, and other depraved acts imposed on her by the men in her life. The ultimate victim. What’s interesting about her character is that no matter what is inflicted upon her she continues attempting to uphold a level of purity that, realistically, would be hard to hold onto in her position.

The role of Justine is played charmingly by Alice Arno, perfectly fitting the part with a look so sweet and innocent, who wouldn’t want to corrupt her? She appears naked on screen more often than dressed which is a real treat. Other sexual servants are present and exposed during the course of the movie as well. The film mostly shy’s away from the homosexual content that is commonly found in Sade’s work. I could see a heterosexual director not wanting to shoot the content. Although I haven’t read the book I can take an educated guess and say this film likely only touches the surface of the cruel sexual acts in the novel.

To match that level of grotesque that Sade is known for, a lot more P*rnographic material would have had to of been shot. The sexual acts Sade writes about in his works are often so over the top that they can be humorous like a dark comedy. Think, a human centipede of mouth to anal sex. If you’re amongst those that demand a film stay faithful to the novel then you have another movie to complain about I guess.

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Justine De Sade suffers from the same problem as Sade’s novels. Repetition repeated by repeating repeat. Marques De Sade is a thousand times more fascinating as a person than his material, which is why more films have been made about him than about his actual works. He has an almost obsessive compulsive tendency when it comes to writing sex scenes and the constant reoccurrence of certain erotic acts, to the point where it starts to get boring. This film gets boring. As I said above, Justine just goes from one sadistically cruel master to the next. There is little else to say about the film. Once the initial shock wears off you are left feeling very little of anything as a similar situation is set up to play out in an identical way.

On a side note, Alice Arno has a nice little juicy plump behind. The type of butt I could write an epic sized poem about. A booty that could save the planet and bring world peace if placed in the right hands. I have a personal fascination and love for a mouthwatering romp and it’s refreshing to see a movie that shares that same passion.

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The men are constantly putting Justine’s backside on display for each other. Anal sex is discussed constantly and appears to be preferred by most men in the film. A movie for ass lovers during a time period when ass probably wasn’t getting the attention and respect it deserves.

So if you’ve already seen Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom, the only Sade adaptation that could be considered high art, I do recommend checking out this low budget exploitation film. Who knows, its lack of any artistic merit might make it preferable to Marques De Sade if he was alive today.


  1. The DVD cover is not from the movie you are writing about but from the Jess Franco movie of the same title.


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