Philip Kaufman (2000)

18 Certificate


Our Score
Depending on your point of view, this is either a remarkable testimony to the importance of artistic freedom or the debauched tale of a devilish man: either way, it's a considerable cinematic achievement. Geoffrey Rush is perfect as the unrepentant Marquis de Sade, confined to a mental institution and smuggling his "smut" to a publisher via laundry maid Kate Winslet. When hard-line psychiatrist Michael Caine is sent to oversee the liberal regime of priest Joaquin Phoenix, de Sade has to use all his ingenuity to continue writing. Director Philip Kaufman's multilayered exploration of cruelty, repression and hypocrisy celebrates de Sade's indomitable spirit, while reminding us of the enduring and corruptive power of his imagination. Quills is the work of a master.


The notorious Marquis de Sade is confined to an asylum during the reign of Napoleon, but continues to write and distribute his sexually provocative fiction with the aid of a laundry girl. When a particularly scandalous piece reaches an outraged Napoleon, a puritanical doctor is put in charge of the hospital and a battle of wills commences. Period drama, starring Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Michael Caine, Joaquin Phoenix and Billie Whitelaw.

Cast & Crew

Marquis de Sade Geoffrey Rush
Madeleine Kate Winslet
Abbé Coulmier Joaquin Phoenix
Dr Royer-Collard Michael Caine
Madame LeClerc Billie Whitelaw
Delbène Patrick Malahide
Simone Amelia Warner
Renée Pelagie Jane Menelaus
Franval Edward Tudor-Pole
Mademoiselle Clairwil Pauline McLynn
Director Philip Kaufman
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: 20th Century FoxGuidance: Violence, swearing, sex scenes and nudity. Available on: video and DVDReleased on: 19 Jan 2001