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The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat ... Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade
Cast: Ian Richardson as Jean-Paul Marat Patrick Magee as Marquis de Sade Glenda Jackson as Charlotte Corday Susan Williamson as Marat's mistress Clifford Rose as Asylum director
production: Royal Shakespeare Company
Directed by: Peter Brook
Based on the play by: Peter Weiss
The Marquis de Sade is locked in the Charenton mental hospital and decides to put on a play. His overseers agree as long as he follows certain conditions. He writes and directs the other mental patients in a play based on the life of the Jean-Paul Marat. As the play progresses, the inmates become more and more possessed by the violence of the play and become extremely difficult to control. Finally, all chaos breaks loose.
Awards: Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists 1969 Won Silver Ribbon Best Director -- Foreign Film Peter Brook Locarno International Film Festival 1967 Won Special Mention Peter Brook
Whether it's based on reality or not, Marat/Sade is an ambitious idea. The Marquis de Sade (Patrick Magee), often wrote and produced plays during his incarceration. Whether he made one about Jean-Paul Marat is debatable and this is certainly not based on anything Sade wrote. Marat/Sade is actually a filmed version of a play written in the early 1960s (and fully titled The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat As Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of The Marquis de Sade) by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Ian Richardson plays the bathtub-bound Marat, and Glenda Jackson plays his assassin. The only problem, of course, is that in the world of the film, Richardson is a lunatic paranoid and Jackson is a narcoleptic depressive. This makes for some strange interpretations of history, mental illness, heroism, and politics — and where we draw the lines among all these things. In the end, Marat/Sade comes off as more of a joke than a think-piece, unfortunately. We laugh at the participants instead of pitying them. We don't think about history and its interpretation: We think instead about what kind of royal person would willingly subject themselves to a presentation of this play. The chaos that erupts is completely expected. Better idea: Have a group of royals present a play inside a mental institution, and see how the inmates respond...
Channel Fidelis Scardanelli