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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

'The Nun' DVD: Modern Dystopian French Art-House 'Cinderella' Film



The Film Movement DVD release of the 2013 French film "The Nun" is part of the trifecta of independent foreign films that Movement is releasing on May 5, 2015. Unreal TV has run a review of the Australian drama "My Mistress" and a post on the Venezuelan political thriller "God's Slave," which is the May 2015 entry in the uber-awesome Movement Film of the Month Club.

"Nun," which is based on the 2008 Denis Diderot novel of the same name, portrays the horrible ordeals of mid-18th century "privileged bourgeois" teen Suzanne as she undergoes the process of becoming a nun and then reluctantly enters that profession. Early 20s Belgian actress Pauline Etienne does a superb job portraying the anguish of our heroine and the epic battle of wills in which she engages with the mothers superior who seek to bend her to their wills.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of the trailer for "Nun" provides a good sense of the story and the associated drama and intrigue.


Uber-awesome French actresss Isabelle Huppert does equally well in her role as one of the two mother superiors who make convent life a living Hell for Suzanne. One truly gets a full sense that that character is fully deranged and should not be allowed anywhere near her young charges.

The readily apparent reason for the parents of Suzanne getting her to a nunnery is that they broke the bank getting her older sisters married; an effectively midnight confession by the mother of Suzanne further contributes to the Cinderella element of "Nun" and convinces Suzanne to reverse her prior refusal to take her vow to become a nun.

The modern dystopian element of this story continues with the "fairy godmother" and the "prince" who both attempt to rescue our downtrodden waif  and to allow her to live happily ever after do not fully succeed. Additionally, the torment that Suzanne endures in the interim goes far beyond her literally being clad in rags and having to scrub floors.

The underlying related issues are that Suzanne is strong willed and does not feel the calling that sincerely taking the vow of becoming a nun requires. The proverbial rub is that the cloistered life apparently is her only option.

One of the best scenes in "Nun" depicts Suzanne facing off against the priest who is administering her the vow that is the final stage of becoming a nun. She truly means no disrespect but is equally unwilling to make an insincere pledge.

On a larger level, filmmaker Guillaume Nicloux wonderfully portrays the grandeur of 1760s France and the beautiful countryside of that era. He additionally gets terrific performances out of his entire cast.

An even more amazing aspect of "Nun" is that story set roughly 250 years in the past is still highly relevant today. Strong-willed intelligent teens continue rebelling, authority figures do not respond well to challenges to said power, and children continue paying for the sins of the parents.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Nun" is strongly encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.