Your upcoming movie Justine - in a few words, what's it going
to be about?
goes where the story of De Sade did not go and I wish it had. The original
story has an anticlimatic ending with an underlying religious subtext.
Iím taking the story to a more concrete, climactic end.
is of course based on
Marquis De Sade's novel of the same name - so what drew you to the
material in the first place? And other sources of inspiration when writing
in the opinion of many people, the most interesting story by De Sade
and Justine is the best character he created, thatís perhaps why it is
the one book that has been more often adapted to the big screen. I read
a lot of his works during one stretch of time before we made Maleficarum
and other movies and it was at that time when I met Mila Joya. In fact I
was reading Justine
when I struck up a conversation with her, which led
to talk with her about working in our movies. She was working as a
receptionist. At that time I was considering making a film from any of
De Sadeís stories, and Justine
is the one that I liked the most.
Another source of inspiration for Justine
is, obviously, the Bible, some of the
Old Testament but mostly the New Testament. De Sade evidently had issues
with religion and religious symbols and iconography.
Your cinematic output very frequently
features sado-masochistic imagery - so how much of an inspiration has the
Marquis De Sade been on you as a filmmaker?
Amy Hesketh, building a prop for Justine
as much an inspiration as the sagas of Catholic martyrs or stories of
damsels in distressÖ or the Bible. In fact, as most people, I knew as
much about De Sade as anyone else who comes across the word sadism, very
little. It wasnít until I read ALL of his works that I came to truly
understand what he was achieving with his literary works. I understood
then his milieu, his philosophy and his position in history, both world
history and French history. Charlie Hebdo would not exist without De Sade.
He was the first to rub it on your face without fear of consequences.
From what I know, you base Justine
on the philosophy of one of the book's characters, Ronin - care to elaborate?
All of the characters in De Sadeís books are extreme expressions of
conflicting views of life, death, love, sex, GodÖ and so on. Justine
represents extreme virtue and to me Rodin, who wants to use his daughter
for the most awful experiments, is the perfect embodiment of the extreme
evil zealot. The one who truly believes he should be a god, a cruel,
powerful, unfeeling god.
general, how faithful do you plan to remain to your source material?
using most of the story as the source, of course, all of the characters
are taken from the book. Iím turning the end completely on its head, and
for that I need Rodin, his dramatic arch has the elements, to
accomplish my ends.
is a novel that definitely does not hold back, in neither sex nor
violence. So how far do you plan to go, and is there a line you refuse to
lot of De Sadeís narration is very, very pornographic in the way it is
written and the way pornography is understood now. Iím not interested in
making a movie where I simply illustrate De Sadeís writing. The violence
and sex will be there, of course, in ways I cannot yet describe, but I can
say that I will be very faithful to the spirit of the book while using it
as a springboard for a more cinematic interpretation of the story. Itís
a big book, as you know, and thereís enough material there to make a
series of films. So, by condensing the story and taking those parts that
best narrate Justineís tribulations, I can have a very intense,
interesting film with a totally outrageous ending, which, I insist, is
not in the book. Iím adding an obsession to Rodinís obsessions and
this one is more theatrical, not clinical, as his obsessions are in the
book. In the book Rodin has a keen interest in his daughters genitalia, in
the film, heís more obsessed with her soul and her capacity to go beyond
I do assume you'll appear in front of the camera
as well - so who will you play, and why exactly this character?
I will be acting in it, of course, and I decided that who better than me
to play a character I understand so well as Rodin. One reason why I can
play this character is because he directs those around him, he decides
what they will do and whyÖ so, by playing him Iím making things easier
for myself. I will direct the film as Rodin would. All I need to do is
eliminate any and all inhibitions and make everybody do their perverse
you can tell us about the rest of the cast yet, however tentatively, and
what makes them perfect for their roles?
usual suspects will be there, of course. Mila Joya has the misfortune of
having to play my suffering daughter Rosalie, who has a miserable life
throughout the film. Justine will be played by Amy Hesketh [Amy
Hesketh interview - click here] of course, who
else could embody that virtuous woman? Dubois, the malevolent robber, will
be incarnated by Gina Alcon. A new actress in our band of thespians,
Beatriz Rivera, will play Omphale, Rodinís lover and long suffering
victim. Thatís to name a few.
As far as I
know, Justine is presently still in its fundraising stages - so
what can you tell us about your fundraising efforts?
Yes. We have
an IndieGoGo campaign right now, to get some of the funds we need. Our
goal is 20,000 Dollars, but any amount we manage to get together will be
very welcome. So far, as of this writing, we managed to raise over 42%
of our goal. We have some interesting perks, so itís worth checking it
the budget's in place, what's the schedule, and even if it's probably waaaay too
early to ask, any idea when and where Justine
will be released onto the
general public yet?
The when is
not yet established. I will know when Iím done with the pre production
and I have my production board ready. That will dictate the time it
will take to shoot and also the post production. Iím hoping to have
the film ready at the end of this year, or very early in 2016.
hesitant to release it theatrically. But then again, we did release
Maleficarum in theaters, so I guess we could. Iíll decide that when I
have the film in post. I expect the quality to be as good or better than
our most recent film, Olalla, the first to be screened in theaters on
DCP, the system that is replacing celluloid. It looks spectacular.
Mila Joya in Pygmalion
Any future projects beyond Justine?
we always have something burning for the future, both, the near and the
far future. Ideas keep coming, in fact. I
wrote a script based in Bernard Shawís Pygmalion, which is a film within
a film. Weíre just done with the shooting of it. It was directed by Amy
Hesketh, I play the Higgins character while Mila plays Eliza. Amy plays
old dear Pickering. Erix Antoine is going to be directing his second film, Aventura. Amy has two scripts
coming up and I have one huge project already written. Itís just a
matter of making one at a time, I guess.
movie's website, Facebook, IndieGoGo, whatever else?
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version of Justine
Iíve see is the one by none other than Jess Franco,
with Jack Palance, Klaus Kinski, Romina Power and other stars of that era.
I plan to do one better with this one. Francoís version concentrated on the most interesting part of the book, from when Justine escapes
prison, ending up with Bressaic and later Rodin and Rombeau. Jack
Palance played his character with a touch of over-acting and Kinski was
unusually subdued and moody. He played De Sade in prison fighting his
demons, so I guess he had to be moody.
on a similar road, starting with Justine awaiting sentence for her
crimes and telling her story to a woman she does not know is her sister.
to her after sheís done telling her story is where my version takes
of, going far away, pushed by my unrestrained imagination. In some
strange way, my version is more sadistic than De Sade himself.
for the interview!