Charles Baudelaire was one of the giants of 19th-century French poetry, and he earned his position among that nation's luminaries through the poems in one slim volume, entitled Les Fleurs du Mal (Flowers of Evil). A perfectionist to the extreme, he struggled with every word of those few poems for many years before he consented to see them published. When he did, six of them were condemned by the state censors as obscene. It was surely a powerful blow to him to have such a significant part of his life's work so rudely suppressed. This courtroom drama follows him at the 1857 trial at which he defended his works. The filmmaker has chosen to symbolically re-enact certain poems about the love of a woman as they are being read for the court. It is easy to imagine that, as was certainly the case for the trial of Oscar Wilde in England, this courtroom trial was a form of punishment for his publicly dissolute lifestyle.
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