1967 Movie Club Selection
Plot: The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum at Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade.
First things first--I don't remember the character's name, but there's a guy in this thing who has the best hair ever.
There are a great deal of words in this thing. Some, especially a lot of the ones that were sung, were incomprehensible. And a lot of them flew right over my little head. I was in bad need of subtitles to help me out. Even with subtitles, I doubt I'm intelligent enough to attempt swimming in the various layers of Marat/Sade. Freewill vs. predetermination, the power of the individual vs. the community, equality, freedom, justice, censorship, nihilism. Heavy stuff, and this is a challenging and intense experience. Draining even. The style instantly draws you in, almost makes you feel trapped in there with the inmates of the asylum. The single setting is sparse, but I like how some of the features of the bath house are utilized. The camera's definitely not afraid to get right in there, allow you to get intimate with the crevices of the actors' faces. At times, this is almost a movie you can smell. There are a couple of scenes that I just loved. First a "Marat Nightmare" scene with steamy effects, demonic silhouettes, and disorienting music. The second was a scene that started with a chant (in rounds) about "general copulation" and ended with some hot dry-humping orgy action. The ensemble cast is excellent. Patrick Magee is haunting as the Marquis, and I also liked Ian Richardson as the other titular character. My favorite characters, other than the hair guy, were the clown-make-upped chorus that would pop up and sing the weird little songs. Marat/Sade is heady stuff, but it's impossible to take your eyes off the screen as the camera maneuvers through all those crazy mo-fos. It's intoxicating and exhausting, and I wish I was enough of an intellectual to fully appreciate it.
So, fellow Movie Clubbers, what did all y'all think?