What if Justine and Juliette were the same person? What if the former's virtue and the latter's cynicism were but the two sides of a single soul? Such is the idea at the heart of this show by Raphaël Enthoven who, using Justine, or Good Conduct Well-Chastised and Juliette, or Vice Amply Rewarded, creates a dialogue between two worldviews that are also nothing more than two character traits. Those two figures needed one face that could give this argument between vice and virtue the sweeping scale of an inner dialogue: who better than Isabelle Huppert for such a performance? Alternating between the events and philosophical considerations of those at once picaresque and theoretical novels, intertwining accounts of awful orgies with fervent and vain prayers, this juxtaposition gives Isabelle Huppert the opportunity to embody at once the one who suffers and the one who is victorious, like the struggle of day against night. Justine is virtuous, believes in a God who has forsaken her, and her body remains unsullied no matter how much abuse is heaped upon it. Juliette is awful—or joyful maybe, believes only in her own pleasure, and notes that those who act like her are happy... Which one should we prefer to the other? Should we choose virtue, at the risk of suffering, over crime, even if it pays? Should we hate the heavens for being empty? And, most of all, is it better to suffer an injustice than to perpetrate it?
Born in 1740, Donatien Alphonse François de Sade, better known as the Marquis de Sade, leads a life of debauchery that leads to a first series of trials and condemnations. While a prisoner at the Bastille, he writes his first works, including The 120 Days of Sodom. After his liberation, he divorces his wife and starts writing moral dramas, but in 1793, his Discours aux manes de Marat et de Le Pelletier (Eulogy for Marat and Le Pelletier) lands him in prison again. After this second stint in jail, he publishes Philosophy in the Bedroom in 1795, before being incarcerated one last time under Bonaparte as the author of Juliette, or Vice Amply Rewarded.
Texts chosen by Raphaël Enthoven
Light Bertrand Killy
With Isabelle Huppert
Production Les Visiteurs du Soir