A new movie, “Quills,” which is scheduled for limited release on November 22, is a fictional account of the real-life French maniac, Marquis de Sade; Fox Searchlight is distributing the film nationwide on December 8. A creative period piece, “Quills” invents a priest-character who bears no resemblance to the priest who attended to Sade in the lunatic asylum.
In real life, Abbe Coulmier was an unattractive, four-foot tall hunchback who remained celibate. In the movie, he is transformed into a good-looking priest who has a relationship with Sade and is depicted having sex with a dead laundress, played by Kate Winslet.
Catholic League president William Donohue expressed the league’s exasperation:
“There was a time, not too long ago, when Hollywood released family entertainment during the holiday season. Now we have ‘Quills,’ a movie based on the life of a man so sick they even coined a name after him: sadism.
“In real life, Sade’s writings offered a clear picture of his twisted life. His fascination with feces, sex with the dead and man-boy sodomy are clinically known as coprophilia, necrophilia and pederasty. Oh, yes, he liked mutilation as well. Not surprisingly, Sade hated Catholicism.
“The deformed dwarf priest who worked with Sade, Father Coulmier, is now described by the film’s distributor as ‘sexy and fluid’ and is seen by reviewers as a ‘liberal-minded, good-looking young priest’ with ‘progressive notions.’ Sounds like a cross between James Bond and our favorite hippy priest, Father Ray from ‘Nothing Sacred.’ And, of course, the fictional priest is sexually perverted, quite unlike the real Father Coulmier. None of this is surprising given Hollywood’s fondness for Catholicism, but it is disgraceful nonetheless.”