For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.
4.1
2,727 Ratings

Black Narcissus

United Kingdom, 1947
Drama

Synopsis

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.

This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
Black Narcissus Directed by Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1948 | 2 wins including: Best Cinematography, Color

Golden Globes (USA)

1948 | Winner: Best Cinematography

Watching [Powell and Pressburger’s] one-of-a-kind drama Black Narcissus, which was released in cinemas on 26 May 1947, raises some intriguing questions about the outlook of Britain in its period of production. Here, the world outside of Europe is treated, through a perceived exoticism, with a surreal otherness. This sits alongside a radical questioning of female sexual desire and repression, which unleashes a level of eroticism that’s surprising for 1940s British cinema.
May 25, 2017
Read full article
What struck me, and has stayed with me, was how nitrate took the emphasis off the story and onto geography—of places, of spaces, and most importantly, of faces. The texture and color (or lack thereof) of Deborah Kerr’s young face in relation to that of her much older Mother Superior as they talk about her upcoming assignment was unlike anything I had ever seen, the nitrate stock almost allowing you to feel the differences in their skin textures and tones.
September 22, 2015
Read full article
The theme is from Forster and I Know Where I’m Going!, worked out “at the back of the beyond” by The Archers at their most carnal-bonkers-sublime… The blur of rapture and dread is magnificently embodied by Kathleen Byron’s gaze of furious desire, her tormented nun donning scandalous reds for a foretaste of Hammer horror. Mallarmé’s bell-ringer and Murnau’s mysterious high angles for the climax, with consequences for Hitchcock. The fever breaks, but “I shall have my ghosts to remind me.”
November 25, 2013
Read full article

What are people saying?

Related films