It’s 1794. Notorious French pornographer and sexual felon Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush) is incarcerated in an insane asylum but nonetheless has several nasty little tales to share with the world. A virgin laundry maid (Kate Winslett) smuggles his literary spasms of lust, sexual fantasies, blasphemy and overripe prose into the public domain while men of science (Michael Caine) and the cloth (Joaquin Phoenix) try to curb the feverish, prolific scribe. Director Philip Kaufman’s lush production about hypocrisy, censorship, self-rationalization, the dark side of eroticism and a desperate use of body fluids thrusts us with mixed success into a battle of free speech that explores the power, anarchy and consequences of art. Doug Wright adapted the script from his 1995 Obie-winning play.