’Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade (2 June 1740 – 2 December 1814) was a French aristocrat and writer famous for his libertine sexuality and lifestyle. His works include novels, short stories, plays, and political tracts; in his lifetime some were published under his own name, while others appeared anonymously and Sade denied being their author. He is best known for his erotic novels, which combined philosophical discourse with pornography, depicting bizarre sexual fantasies with an emphasis on violence, criminality, and blasphemy against the Catholic Church. He was a proponent of extreme freedom, unrestrained by morality, religion or law.
Sade was incarcerated in various prisons and in an insane asylum for about 32 years of his life; eleven years in Paris (10 of which were spent in the Bastille) a month in Conciergerie, two years in a fortress, a year in Madelonnettes, three years in Bicêtre, a year in Sainte-Pélagie, and 13 years in the Charenton asylum. Many of his works were written in prison. The term “sadism” (/ˈseɪdɪzm/) is derived from his name.’
Numerous writers and artists, especially those concerned with sexuality, have been both repelled and fascinated by Sade.
Simone de Beauvoir (in her essay Must we burn Sade?, published in Les Temps modernes, December 1951 and January 1952) and other writers have attempted to locate traces of a radical philosophy of freedom in Sade’s writings, preceding modern existentialism by some 150 years. He has also been seen as a precursor of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis in his focus on sexuality as a motive force. The surrealists admired him as one of their forerunners, and Guillaume Apollinaire famously called him “the freest spirit that has yet existed”.
‘Histoire de l’oeil’ (Story of the Eye) – Georges Bataille
Bataille’s novella is heavily influenced by the writings of the Marquis de Sade, dealing with bizarre perversions and sexual trangression.
‘Yukio Mishima, Barry Yzereef, and Doug Wright also wrote plays about Sade; Weiss’s and Wright’s plays have been made into films. His work is referenced on film at least as early as Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí’s L’Age d’or (1930), the final segment of which provides a coda to Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom, with the four debauched noblemen emerging from their mountain retreat. Pier Paolo Pasolini filmed Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), updating Sade’s novel to the brief Salo Republic; Benoît Jacquot’s Sade and Philip Kaufman’s Quills (from the play of the same name by Doug Wright) both hit cinemas in 2000. Quills, inspired by Sade’s imprisonment and battles with the censorship in his society,13 portrays Sade as a literary freedom fighter who is a martyr to the cause of free expression.’
“It was Surrealist Luis Buñuel who first introduced Sade into the cinematic realm. In the 1930 film L’Âge d’or, Buñuel chose to end his tale of erotic passion with a scene taken from Sade’s novel The 120 Days of Sodom. The scene takes place after the male protagonist has been betrayed by the woman he loves – that is, normal, heterosexual romance has failed. In fact, as the intertitles state, it is at “that moment” of betrayal that “the survivors of the Chateau de Selliny were coming out, to go back to Paris”. The intertitles further explain that: “Four well known and utter scoundrels had locked themselves up in an impregnable castle for 120 days to celebrate the most brutal of orgies”. Now preparing to leave their castle, the four “fiends” who have “no law but their depravity… no God, no principles, and no religion” are set to emerge from the door into the outside world.”
-- Lindsay Hallam, Senses of Cinema
‘Le Sadisme au Cinéma’ (1964) – George de Coulteray
(Sadism in the Movies – 1965)
‘Sadomania: Sinema De Sade’ (2006) – Jack Hunter
The counterpart of sadism is masochism, the sexual pleasure or gratification of having pain or suffering inflicted upon the self, often consisting of sexual fantasies or urges for being beaten, humiliated, bound, tortured, or otherwise made to suffer, either as an enhancement to or a substitute for sexual pleasure. The name is derived from the name of the 19th century author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, known for his novel “Venus in Furs” that dealt with highly masochistic themes.
’The most common and the most significant of all the perversions — the desire to inflict pain upon the sexual object, and its reverse — received from Krafft-Ebbing the names of “Sadism” and “Masochism” for its active and passive forms respectively. — Sigmund Freud, “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality,” 1905
‘Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s novel Venus in Furs is essentially one long masochistic fantasy, where the male principal character encourages his mistress to mistreat him. It inspired a song of the same name, and about the same subject matter, by the pioneering rock group The Velvet Underground, featuring the lyric “Kiss the boot of shiny, shiny leather.”
The 1962 science fiction novel A Clockwork Orange, along with its 1971 Stanley Kubrick film adaptation, follow the exploits of a vicious street gang led by a sadistic young nihilist with a taste for Beethoven and gang-rape. Both works present violent sadism as a force that grows beneath society, only to be eventually unleashed upon it.
Story of O is another classic masochistic novel, written by a woman, Pauline Réage. In this novel, the female principal character is kept in a chateau and mistreated by a group of men.’
SADOMASOCHISM IN FILM
L’Âge d’or (1930) – The Servant (1963) – The Whip and The Flesh (1963) – The Embryo Hunts in Secret (1966) – Belle de Jour (1967) – Femina Ridens (1969) – A Clockwork Orange (1971) – The Night Porter (1974) – The Story of O (1975) – The Image (1975) – Maîtresse (1976) – Videodrome (1983) – Blue Velvet (1986) – Marquis (1989) – Bitter Moon (1992) – Tokyo Decadence (1992) – Romance X (1999) – Quils (2000) – Sade (2000) – Secretary (2002)
Many films have been influenced by ‘sadism’, ‘sadomasochism’ or directly influenced by the Marquis de Sade, this list is just some of those, showing different aspects of what we know as ‘pain for pleasure’..Read less