From Clockworks2
Jump to: navigation, search

QUILLS. Philip Kaufman, dir., one of seven prod. Doug Wright (II), play and script. UK (with complexities), 2000. IMDb lists for production and distribution: Hollywood Partners, Industry Entertainment, Walrus & Associates (prod.) / 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, Continental Film, Fox Searchlight Pictures (dist.). Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Caine, featured players.

Mainstream fictional film on the final stages of the imprisonment of the Marquis de Sade, relevant here for imagery of containment and silencing of a man, (de) Sade. As part of the climax of the film, personified Science and Religion combine to have Sade held down and his tongue cut out surgically (without anesthesia—the insistence on pain is Religion's contribution). This combines two central images for horror: for men, being held down and tortured, though often with dialog, as in "Grand Inquisitor" scenes; for women, silencing by force and terror. Cf. and contrast Nineteen Eighty-Four and 1984 (film 1984), and RUNNING MAN (listed under Fiction and Drama), and M. Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. More important is the image of a large, fat, violent—in arrogant human terms "animalistic"—man enclosed standing in a spikeless Iron Maiden. Religion and, more so, Medical Science—embodied in Joaquin Phoenix's priest, Coulmier, and Michael Caine's "psychiatrist," Dr. Royer-Collard—eventually cooperate to confine as closely as possible a kind of "Monster from the Id" (quoting FORBIDDEN PLANET). There's an appropriateness that QUILLS, released in the last year of the 20th c., should give us such pure imaging of central 20th-c. fears and concerns: how to control the "beast" within without doing greater evil than can be done by any beast. Cf. A Clockwork Orange and A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (under Fiction and Drama).