In eighteenth-century France, a girl is forced against her will to take vows as a nun. Three mothers superior treat her in radically different ways, ranging from maternal concern, to sadistic persecution, to lesbian desire.
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The Diderot-Rivette-Karina combination is a winner. Satires don't have to come with klaxons blaring. As an indictment of the Catholic church (and wider society too, only reinforced by the film being banned) it feels more powerful for its stylistic restraint, and the casting of Karina more striking after the freedom of Pierrot le Fou. Not the New Wave's blazing star, Rivette has been both bold and richly rewarding.
Life in a persistent mode of profound dissonance. Each cut & sound, each camera movement emphasizes the discordance of existence. To live is to experience undeviating opposition.Life as war is relentlessly conveyed by way of the female experience in an overwhelmingly oppressive milieu. How does improvisation fit into a strict narrative structure? The ending leads us all to a morbid sense of existential inevitability.
One of the greatest Atheist films ever made. On top of that, this is such a beautifully tragic story that is told with such grace by Jacques Rivette, and has a central character worthy of our sympathy, as played by Anna Karina. Just fantastic!
During the Englightenment, Denis Diderot's story held a reckless indictment of the Church and its monastic transgressions, infused with allusions to sex, madness and social status. By 1966 its subject was still censored. However, Rivette has bound his retelling in tight restraints like a shibari master swinging his Submissive in ropes from a Fragonard painted ceiling, using method not story as God's portent signifier
The real tragedy of this film lies in the fact that, truly, no place is safe for a woman. Suzanne's hellish upbringing begets a hellish psychological interior that is made manifest in her hellish surroundings. Everyone and everything she encounters functions only to drain, demean, and degrade. A jarring score and abrupt yet rhythmic cuts and transitions create an oppressive atmosphere of utter confusion.
an intense experience - the sound editing works to bring home a maddening point of the tribulations through which Suzanne lives. the hurried nature of the cuts and jump shots really reminded me of what it was to be 17, how quickly everything seemed to pass with vivid moments while the rest faded away. thematically speaking to our position as to forever being at the behest of others, in one way or another.
Il racconto di una disperata, furiosa vocazione alla vita di una ragazza che sa soltanto ciò che non è, ciò che non vuole, e che deve imparare a conoscere se stessa attraverso una versione deformata di sé, schiacciata da volontà più forti (o soltanto meno aperte al dubbio) che la manipolano e l'umiliano.