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KENJI SETS OFF IN SEARCH OF NUNS

by Kenji
KENJI SETS OFF IN SEARCH OF NUNS by Kenji
What splendid mysteries lie behind those cloistered walls? Once as a student returning home on a dark winter’s night in a drunken state i clambered over the wall protecting the grounds of the Little Sisters of the Poor, and there i discovered……. well, i think my lips will remain sealed. Another time, in my youth, hitch-hiking in France, tired and footsore after hours of walking, my path crossed that of a nun, who wished me well. Barely had i gone a hundred yards than a car stopped for me! Divine intervention for sure; what strange powers must these women have? thought i. “Alone in my cell, by day my thoughts turned to Diderot, the Irish… Read more

What splendid mysteries lie behind those cloistered walls? Once as a student returning home on a dark winter’s night in a drunken state i clambered over the wall protecting the grounds of the Little Sisters of the Poor, and there i discovered……. well, i think my lips will remain sealed.

Another time, in my youth, hitch-hiking in France, tired and footsore after hours of walking, my path crossed that of a nun, who wished me well. Barely had i gone a hundred yards than a car stopped for me! Divine intervention for sure; what strange powers must these women have? thought i.

“Alone in my cell, by day my thoughts turned to Diderot, the Irish laundries and the brutal education my sister-in-law received at the hands of she devils in veils, while at night my dreams were filled with nuns in stockings and suspenders as eager to mete out punishment to a bare buttock as to receive it.” (Ijnek Railasi- Confessions of a Sinner).

“As i stood by the cross i was filled with such fire i removed all my clothes and offered Him all of myself”.

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The Nun (Rivette)
Excellent film based on Diderot’s novel about the mistreatment of a young woman (Karina) forced to become a nun against her will.

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NUNSPLOITATION

“Nunsploitation is a subgenre of exploitation film, which had its peak in Europe in the 1970s. These films typically involve Christian nuns living in convents during the Middle Ages. The main conflict of the story is usually of a religious or sexual nature, such as religious oppression or sexual suppression due to living in celibacy. The inquisition is another common theme. These films, although often seen as pure exploitation films, often contain criticism against religion in general and the Catholic church in particular. Indeed, some protagonist dialogue voiced feminist consciousness and rejection of their subordinated social role. Not surprisingly, many of these films were made in countries where the Catholic Church is influential, such as Italy and Spain. One atypical example of the genre, however, is Killer Nun (Suor Omicidi), set in, then, present-day Italy (1978).

Nunsploitation, along with Nazisploitation, is a subgenre that ran a parallel course alongside Women in prison films in the Seventies and Eighties. As with prison films, they are set in isolated, fortress-like convents where the sexually repressed all-female population inevitably turns to lesbianism and perversity. The element of religious guilt allows for lurid depictions of “mortifying the flesh” such as self-flagellation and painful, masochistic rituals. The Mother Superior is usually a cruel and corrupt warden-like martinet who enforces strict discipline (more opportunities for whippings and medieval-style punishments) and often lusts after her female charges. An equally sadistic and lecherous priest is often included to add an element of masculine menace to the story.

Some segments from the Scandinavian silent film Häxan (1922) may be seen as a precursor for this genre.

Amongst other examples of exploitation cinema in Europe over the last sixty years, nunsploitation genre movies are discussed in Mendik and Mathij’s recent overview volume on this general trend within regional cinema genres, cultures and audience consumption. Chris Fujiwara wrote a detailed piece discussing examples of the genre such as Killer Nun (1978), The Nun and the Devil (1973) and Flavia The Heretic (1974), in Hermenaut, a US pop culture journal." (wikipedia)

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The Magdalene Sisters, which depicts the horrors of the Irish laundries to which “fallen” and “immoral” girls and young women were sent.

Missing from the site:

The Devil in a Convent (Melies)
In This House of Brede (TV)
Daring Nun (Ikehiro Kazuo)
Crazy Nuns
The Abbess of Castro

i can’t bear Sister Act, but i’m trying to provide a useful full list

~

Judex

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Cinema notables from convents:

Jennifer Jones, Mia Farrow, Valerie Export, Julie Christie, Emmanuelle Seigner, Maribel Verdú, Vivien Leigh, Tallulah Bankhead, Dolores del Rio, Maureen O’Sullivan, Geneviève Bujold, Loretta Young, Carmen Miranda, Marion Davies. Oh and Lady Gaga.

other films which feature nuns (however briefly):

Birds, Orphans and Fools
Trans Europe Express
El Cid
The Milky Way
Rosemary’s Baby
Le Amiche
Szamanka
The White Bus
Fellini Roma
Il Caso Valdemar
Vive le Tour

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more please, i would like a compendium for all nun-spotters to refer to- be on the look-out!

see also my list A Library of Religious-Themed and Spiritual Films, and Sonja has done a Nuns list too, which has come up with some additions to this list

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