Marquis de Sade: Justine  

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 This page Marquis de Sade: Justine is part of the Marquis de Sade series  Illustration: Portrait fantaisiste du marquis de Sade (1866) by H. Biberstein
This page Marquis de Sade: Justine is part of the Marquis de Sade series
Illustration: Portrait fantaisiste du marquis de Sade (1866) by H. Biberstein

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Marquis de Sade: Justine is a 1969 Italian drama film, directed by Jesús Franco and starring Klaus Kinski. It is based on the novel Justine by Marquis de Sade.


The film is narrated by Marquis de Sade himself as he is in a prison and hallucinating images of naked, tortured women.

Justine, a sweet and virtuous girl lives with her sister Juliette in a nunnery. When they learn of their father's death, they are booted out of the nunnery with their father's gold. Juliette takes Justine to a friend who could provide accommodation for the two girls, Madame de Bussion. De Buisson is however, a brothel owner and requires the girls to work as prostitutes. Justine leaves the brothel with her gold while Juliette stays and learns the arts of a prostitute. A priest offers to keep Justine's gold safe and return it at church the next day, should she reside with Monsieur Du Harpin. Du Harpin does not know the priest however, but agrees to let Justine stay for free if she agrees to serve as a maid.

Justine is spotted by Monsieur Derroches, who takes interest in Justine's beauty and invites her to sleep in his quarters. He forces himself on Justine, who escapes and is instructed by du Harpin to steal Derroches' valuable gold amulet. The next day, Derroches summons the police who search the area and find the amulet in Justine's belongings. With that, Justine is taken to prison. In prison, Justine sees Madame Dusbois, a virago sentenced for execution the next day. Dusbois, impressed by Justine's innocent looks, implicates her in an escape plan. On the day of execution, prison guards allied with Dusbois start a fire in the prison and Justine screams, causing a commotion in the prison. Dusbois and Justine escape the prison safely, along with the defective guards.

Meanwhile, Juliette and a fellow prostitute, Claudine kill Madame de Buisson and a client, stealing her gold and making their escape. While hiding out in a forest, Dusbois accepts Justine as part of her group, noting the utility of Justine's innocence. But the male members of the group attempt to rape Justine and end up fighting amongst themselves. Justine uses the distraction to escape. She faints near the house of a painter named Raymond who takes care of her. He offers to let her live with him for free, in exchange for her becoming a model for him to paint. She falls in love with Raymond. One day, the police arrive at Raymond's to investigate and Raymond asks Justine to escape.

Justine arrives in the premises of the cunning Marquis de Bressac, who, impressed by Justine's innocent air, gives her refuge and employment. Justine becomes a personal attendant to Marquise de Bressac, who owns all the de Bressac property. The Marquis asks Justine to kill his wife or be implicated in another crime. Justine reveals the plot to the Marquise, while the Marquis watches secretly. Later, the Marquise attempts to poison her husband, but the latter tricks her into drinking his wine, killing her. In punishment, the Marquis brands the letter 'M' for Murderer on Justine's breast.

Meanwhile, Juliette and Claudine have made great profits from vice and crime. To preserve the fortune, Juliette drowns Claudine while bathing in a river. Justine arrives at a chateau where four ascetics are living a life of meditation and study. Justine asks for sanctuary and is accepted by Father Antonin and his Order that resides in the chateau. She learns however, the four men are libertine hedonists and sexual deviants, whose four other female servants are in fact, sex slaves. Justine is chained and tortured in the dungeon. One day, Father Antonin notes how her life of righteousness and virtue has not gifted her pleasure and reward, but instead brought her to endure suffering, and that perhaps to endure is Justine's sense of pleasure. Justine accepts this, and pleased at having learnt their philosophy so swiftly, Antonin plans to "release" her by killing her in torture. The ceremony goes awry, and Justine escapes in the commotion.

Raymond finds Justine unconscious on the road and takes her to a nearby city, where lets her stay temporarily in an inn. Madame Dusbois, who is serving in the city with her accomplices as an amusement show host, spies Justine and takes her away to work as a nude show performer. In the show, her brand reveals her to be a murderess and causes an uproar in the venue. As she is being taken by the police, she is spotted by Juliette, now a mistress of a Minister of the King. Juliette describes her wicked life as empty, and says that Justine, despite her sufferings, will earn her reward for a virtuous life.

Juliette takes Justine to live with her in her palace, and Justine is seen walking away peacefully with Raymond.


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