Who nowadays reads de Sade? His precise, logical catalogues of moral and sexual behaviour belong to a vanished time with a vanished language. If de Sade lives, it's through his present-day interpreters: de Beauvoir, Barthes, Pasolini. And the Film Work Group, whose Justine is an isolated and very honourable attempt to bring an important strain in contemporary European thinking into British consciousness. The film comprises a series of non-dramatic tableaux, representing incidents from the first third of the book: although the period trappings are all there, there's no attempt to 'involve' the audience by creating a 'plausible' historical reality. Instead, the visual tableaux and long speeches set out to present de Sade's book in a form that modern viewers can broach and try to come to terms with. No one could pretend that it's a complete success, but its challenge is real.