On July 19, 2016, our Art in Film group reviewed The Innocents. Warsaw, December 1945: the second World War is finally over and Mathilde is treating the last of the French survivors of the German camps. When a panicked Benedictine nun appears at the clinic one night begging Mathilde to follow her back to the convent, what she finds there is shocking: a holy sister about to give birth and several more in advanced stages of pregnancy.
A non-believer, Mathilde enters the sisters’ fiercely private world, dictated by the rituals of their order and the strict Rev. Mother (Agata Kulesza). Fearing the shame of exposure, the hostility of the new anti-Catholic Communist government, and facing an unprecedented crisis of faith, the nuns increasingly turn to Mathilde as their belief and traditions clash with harsh realities.
Released July 1, 2016. Directed by Anne Fontaine. Subtitled. Cast includes Lou de Laâge (as Mathilde Beaulieu), Agata Buzek (as Nun Maria), Agata Kulesza (as Mother Superior) and Joanna Kulig (as Nun Irena).
Gerrie Beck (85%); Elana Ben-Kerem (90%); Eileen Jacobson (85%); Glenn Lippman (95%, Discussion/Review Leader); Judy Moskowitz (95%); Bebe Nagel (45%); Elinor Steffensen (85%); Caryn Wachsler (85%); and Miriam Weiss (85%).
Movie Review Comments:
- Memorable Scenes: (a) Leaving newborn at the cross; (b) Mathilde crying in the car back to hospital; (c) Near rape scene; (d) Nun suicide; (e) Nun Sofie looking for her baby.
- Notable quotation: “Faith is 24 hours of doubt and 1 minute of hope.”
- Subtitles offered: (a) Babyland; (b) War is hell; (c) In the name of God.
- What was learned: (a) how zeal can lead to evil; (b) syphilis and lead to poor judgement and murder; (c) how a convent can be a loving place for orphans.
- Cinematography: Snow and cold scenes parallel theme’s hopelessness. Black and white movie with color introduced towards the end of the movie as the orphanage changes direction of the film. All-in-all, cinematography was excellently done.
- Audience: Mature, intelligent, and adult.
Movie was viewed at Living Room Theaters at Florida Atlantic University.