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Marquis de Sade’s Justine 
Written by: on October 11th, 2008

Theatrical Release Date: UK, 1977
Director: Chris Boger
Writer: Ian Cullen
Cast: Koo Stark, Martin Potter, Lydia Lisle, Katherine Kath, Hope Jackman, Maggie Petersen, Barry McGinn, Louis Ife

DVD released: October 28th, 2008
Approximate running time: 94 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Redemption Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95

Synopsis: Two sisters Justine and Juliette are forced to find a way to take care of themselves after the death of their parents. The nuns that had been taking care of them abandon them when their money runs out. Justine tries to follow a life of virtue while Juliette lives a life of sin.

Marquis de Sade’s Justine was directed by Chris Boger who only directed on other feature film. The bulk of his work as a director has been spent directing music videos and live musical performance for such acts like Led Zeppelin. Marquis de Sade’s Justine has been adapted into several features film’s including Roger Vadim’s “Le Vice et la vertu”, Jess Franco’s “Marquis de Sade’s Justine”, Claude Pierson’s Justine de Sade” and Mac Ahlberg’s “Justine and Juliette”. Much of the visual look of Marquis de Sade’s Justine should be accredited to Cinematographer Roger Deakin’s. He would later go onto work on several Cohen Brothers films including Fargo, The Big Lebowski, The Man Who Wasn’t There and No Country for Old Men. The film’s standout visual moment is Justine’s dream/nightmare sequence. This scene has a very Bergmanesque quality to it.

Screenwriter Ian Cullen’s adaption of the Marquis de Sade’s Justine dilutes the source so much that most of the perversion and depravity has been discarded in favor of eroticism. Two moments in the film do have a Marquis de Sade feel to them, a whipping scene with Juliette and the films bleak ending. The story feels to compressed as to much is fit into too little time.

The film’s strongest asset is its leading lady Koo Stark. Her performance as Justine is the closet any screen performance has come to capturing the essence of the character as Marquis de Sade envisioned it. Outside of a few minor film roles and television work, she would only star in two other films The Adolescents and The Awakening of Emily. Another notable performance is Lydia Lisle in the role of Justine’s sister Juliette. She also appears to have had a brief films career. With her final role being John Merrick’s mother in David Lynch’s The Elephant Man. Ultimately this is a tedious adaption of Marquis de Sade’s Justine that strays to far from the source material.

The DVD:

Redemption Films presents Marquis de Sade’s Justine in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. There is some mild print damage that crops up throughout the film in the form of nicks, scratches and specs of dirt. The colors look vivid and nicely saturated. Black levels look strong and details look razor sharp throughout. Even though the image is interlaced it remains stable throughout with no blurring or ghosting issues.

This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Outside of some minor instances if background noise. The audio sounds clear and evenly balanced.

Extras for this release include a trailer for Marquis de Sade’s Justine, a stills gallery (6 images) and trailers for other titles available on DVD from Redemption Films. The main extras for this release are interviews with director Chris Boger (5:51) and screenwriter Ian Cullen (18:35). Besides discussing Marquis de Sade’s Justine, Chris Boger and Ian Cullen, also talk about other films that they worked on. Both interviews are filled with many great responses. Overall Marquis de Sade’s Justine gets a good DVD release from Redemption films that comes with two insightful interviews.

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