LA RELIGIEUSE / THE NUN

SYNOPSIS
Guillaume Nicloux’s adaptation of Denis Diderot’s late-eighteenthcentury
anticlerical novel is an excellent companion to Jacques Rivette’s
1966 page-to-screen transfer of the same material. In the role first
inhabited by Anna Karina in Rivette’s film, Pauline Etienne plays Suzanne
Simonin, a devout sixteen-year-old who, lacking a dowry and a vocation,
is forced by her aristocratic, though financially troubled, parents to enter
a convent. Although her time in the nunnery was originally supposed
to last just a few months, Suzanne soon finds herself imprisoned in
the abbey, subject to the humiliations of the cruel Mother Superior
Christine (Louise Bourgoin) and the selfishness of her actual mother—
who makes the startling announcement to her daughter that she is, in
fact, an illegitimate child and must therefore expiate the family’s sins by
staying in the convent indefinitely. Suzanne is eventually transferred to
another cloister overseen by Mother Superior Saint-Eutrope (Isabelle
Huppert), whose initial kindness toward the young woman soon morphs
into sexual predation. A scathing examination of religious hypocrisy and
a profound treatise on freedom, Nicloux’s adaptation, whose ending
differs significantly from Rivette’s, imagines Suzanne as an even more
indefatigable heroine.

“[An] atmospheric adaptation…driven onwards by a powerful central female
performance.”
—Eye for Film

DIRECTOR
Guillaume Nicloux

SCREENPLAY
Guillaume Nicloux and Jérôme Beaujour

CAST
Louise Bourgoin
Pauline Etienne
Martina Gedek
Isabelle Huppert

GENRE Drama
LANGUAGE French
RUNNING TIME 100’
PRODUCTION Belgium, France, Germany, 2013
FORMAT(S) Blu-Ray, DCP, DVD

DISTRIBUTOR
Film Movement