Adapted from the novel by Rumor Godden and filmed in glorious Technicolor, five Anglican nuns open a convent in the Himalayas but find trouble not only with the locals and the terrain but their own demons as well.
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Deborah Kerr's Sister Clodagh was an outstanding leading figure and Kathleen Byron had some very creepy face expressions as her opposite, the wicked Sister Ruth. The Palace rooms and surroundings are beautiful. On the other hand, the constant wind, the altitude, the habits, the native people... all contribute to this sense of isolation and loneliness. The Young General and the indian girl were dispensable though.
Jesus-fucking-christ! What a beautiful movie! I could simply turn off the sound and just look what the images. There's technicolor jizzum on every frame of this movie! Besides how stunning it is, the movie itself is extremely well-made. I thought it was just going to be a nun melodrama set in an exotic location but it turned out to be a compelling character study on isolation.
One of those mysterious films that seem to come out from nowhere. Dense, thrilling, unsettling, frightening (to some extent) and very erotic. The superb directing and the gorgeous cinematography are its strong points, and its brief digressions are small pieces of poetry.
To me this sums up everything that has been lost in cinema: rich and simple in its means of expression without *being* simple. Cinema as ballet; distainful of realism but anchored in warm human gestures and emotions.
Quite possibly the most beautiful film ever made. It sure gives Days of Heaven a run for its money! Deborah Kerr gives a career defining performance. The story is subtly complex. It's impossible not to be seduced by this wonderful master work of a film. My favorite Powell & Pressburger so far.
Kerr is amazing against the backdrop of a foreign world, vibrant and strange. The scene where she confronts a fellow nun - her gaze darting across the table, onto the Bible, and up to the other nun (just as she realizes her own desire for Deen) - is stunning. A few characters (or actresses) go a little too broad, but these are minor qualms with a beautiful film. How about that finale? Almost Hitchcockian.
Masterpiece. Each scene of BLACK NARCISSUS is perfect and if you like thickness in a film, you'll find here a few strata under John Cardiff's superb images that will please you. In my opinion, cinema at its best. A DVD zone your library.