Stateside at the Paramount
"...Starring: Catherine Deneuve, John Malkovich, Luis Miguel Cintra, Leonor Silveira, Duarte D'Almeida and Heloisa Miranda. The Convent is the first international venture by the 87-year-old Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira (Valley of Abraham), whose film career stretches back to the silent era..."
"...These nuns are more like characters in a salacious Almodóvar farce than a medieval Pasolini tale. Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, and Kate Micucci play bored convent nuns..."
"...The wintry-hued The Innocents imagines the unimaginable: the rape and impregnation of several Polish nuns by Russian soldiers in a rural convent outside Warsaw at the end of the Second World War. It’s a conception that’s anything but immaculate..."
"...Based on the book The Traps of Faith by Octavio Paz, this 1990 film by Argentinean director Maria Luisa Bemberg takes place in 17th-century “New Spain” (Mexico) as the progressivism of the European Renaissance is giving way to the horrendous repressions of the Spanish Inquisition. Juana is truly one of the intellectual lights of her time: She is an accomplished playwright and poet, the possessor of scientific tools and an extensive library maintained within the convent walls, the celebrated star of the convent and much-visited mentor to “outside” intellectuals..."
"...The spirituality of her decision to commit herself to God is rendered by the filmmakers as little different than all the other moments of her life. In fact, the film seems to make a case for Thérèse being a spoiled, willful child whose desire to join the convent is just another of her self-centered whims..."
"...I know that, because that's told to me by my parents and my sisters, that I was the clown of the classroom. The clown of the convent, they used to call me..."
"...Pity the poor Catholic Church. As if things haven’t been tough enough of late, this week sees it cinematically battered by both The Order, which makes its members out to be power-hungry demon lovers, and now this fact-based film, which shines an entirely unwelcome light on the Irish Catholic Church’s vile practice of imprisoning young women it deemed too sexual (or even too comely) in massive convent/laundries, where they were lorded over by fire-and-brimstone nuns that put both One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’s Nurse Ratched and Strother Martin from Cool Hand Luke to eternal shame..."
"...By any standards, Teresa's life was rocky. Plagued with illness, Teresa's body and mind were also racked with mystical experiences so dramatic they made her a controversial figure in her own time as well as in ours, attracting the suspicious eye of the Inquisition to her convent..."
"...Remember those religious biopics the major Hollywood studios churned out for the faithful back in the day, movies about the lives of the saints, such as the virginal jeune fille who witnessed a beautiful lady in a Lourdes grotto (The Song of Bernadette) or the virginal (again) peasant maid of Orleans burned at the stake after leading her nation into battle (Joan of Arc), among others? Heavenly choirs, upturned faces, diffused light streaming from above: Hollywood fashioned a Roman Catholic mythos to elevate audiences with ennobling stories of simple people chosen by God to work miracles and behold sacred mysteries. Sure, it was a bunch of revisionist claptrap, but it inspired many an impressionable altar boy and convent school girl hoping to glimpse a vision or hear celestial voices, the lapsed yours truly included...."
"...Lawrence's The Rainbow, Christin Lore Weber's first novel explores the places where spirituality, sexuality, and church restrictions intersect for three generations of Catholic women. A former nun, Weber casts much of the book's attention on Elise Pearson, an adolescent piano prodigy who forgoes assured secular success for a mysteriously compelling life in the convent..."
"...• A coven convent of Ohioan nuns are worried that birth control is turning men gay, which is why I always carry a IUD in my back pack...."
"...Other feature-length entries of note this year include Bear With Us, a dark comedy about a marriage proposal in the woods that gets interrupted by a rampaging bear, and Rwanda & Juliet, a documentary about an Ivy League professor traveling to Rwanda to help stage a performance of Romeo & Juliet with young Hutu and Tutsi actors. If you're more interested in the shorter side of things, you might want to keep an eye out for Oscar-nominated "Ave Maria," Palestinian-British director Basil Khalil's narrative about a group of nuns living under a vow of silence in Palestine who must deal with an Israeli family whose car has broken down outside their remote convent..."
"...While on this quest, Switters is introduced to End of Time, a guru who places a geis on him, the violation of which will mean his death. Confined to a wheelchair as a result of the taboo, Switters spends the majority of the book's 400 pages pondering the question of the Third Prophecy of Fatima (which, according to Robbins, has nothing whatsoever to do with a papal assassination attempt) at an unauthorized convent in the Syrian desert...."
"...Zeani had been in Paris singing in La Traviata, and Francis Poulenc was, like most everyone else, smitten with her Violetta. (Zeani so excelled in the role that she'd performed it more than 100 times already, just eight years into her career.) Poulenc approached her personally for an opera he was writing about a convent of nuns facing death during the French Revolution..."
"...In this charming memoir, Loomis recounts her adventures as a student and as a new mother juggling work and the restoration of a dilapidated centuries-old convent the Loomises chose for their home on Rue Tatin in Louviers. She also speaks candidly as an outsider tackling the social challenges necessary to adapt to life in a different culture..."
"...Novitiate traces the path of Cathleen from turbulent childhood to parochial school, and then to rural Tennessee’s Sisters of Beloved Rose convent, where this young nun-in-training (played as an adult by the excellent Qualley) finds her true faith tested in all sorts of ways. Fans of Monty Python, first-wave L.A..."
"...The nose – Gorsky is its name – contracts Toorop to smuggle a sexy, Ukrainian nun/orphan (played with pouty lip by French actress Thierry) from the Cacausus to the Bering Strait and through Canada to New York City. Also along for the journey is the ever-exceptional Yeoh, as the convent's resident martial arts expert..."
"...A high concept comedy so pleasurable it's sinful, Sister Act calls for some rejoicing this summer movie season. Despite its predictability and sappiness, this conventional comedy about a worldly lounge singer who masquerades as a nun as part of a witness protection program busts loose as one of the funniest -- and happiest -- films in a long time..."
"...In another stylistic leap, the evening's double header is capped with Alain Cavalier's Thérèse, about a different kind of love: a young woman's near-obsessive devotion to Christ. When she is denied admission to the convent, she decides to go straight to the top -- at least, as close to the top as possible when earthbound -- and begs the pope to pull a few strings..."
"...Meanwhile, Philip and his Flemish toadies wrested power from Joan by giving her the Frances Farmer treatment. Spanish writer-director Aranda opens his story with a bookend sequence set in the convent in Tordesillas where Joan lived out her days after being declared insane..."