This film is part of Rentals


Stewart Mackinnon’s avant-garde adaptation of Marquis de Sade’s infamous erotic novel has been near impossible to see since 1976.

Drama 1976 90 mins Not rated

Director: Stewart Mackinnon



The directorial debut of illustrator and producer Stewart Mackinnon, Justine is a near-lost example of British avant-garde cinema of the 1970s. Produced by the BFI Production Board in 1976, it has been out of circulation for the entire 40 years since.

A far cry from confrontation contemporaneous de Sade adaptations such as Jesus Franco’s Justine or Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salo, Mackinnon approaches the infamous erotic novel in slightly more sober fashion, restaging sections a series of static tableaux with dialogue lifted straight from the page. And unlike most examples of Sadean cinema, Mackinnon’s film is undeniably an experimental work, very much to be appreciated in the context of radical 70s cinema. But the film’s Brechtian style and unusual historical dramaturgy may also be appreciated by admirers of films like Walerian Borowczyk’s Blanche, Robert Bresson’s The Trial of Joan of Arc and Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo’s Winstanley.