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, Ida). 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.
Looking @ Art Cinema: Women and Religion in Film
Aperture Cinema’s fall 2018 series of Looking @ Art Cinema will examine cinematic reflections on women and religion. Beginning with the trial of Joan of Arc and moving on to two films set in convents, we will examine institutional structures and power. With three selections that take individual faith and religious devotion seriously, we will ask how each film depicts the struggle to maintain relationship with God amidst the struggle and turmoil of an imperfect world. We will also explore the contributions of women as filmmakers across nearly a century of cinematic history. Screenings hosted by Dr. Joshua Canzona, Senior Fellow in the School of Divinity at Wake Forest University.
The Passion of Joan of Arc
October 20, 2018 @ 9:30 am
Co-Presenter: Dr. Ulrike Wiethaus, Professor in the Department for the Study of Religions and American Ethnic Studies Program, Wake Forest University
In her 1431 trial, Jeanne d’Arc is charged with heresy and pressured to recant her claims of holy visions before an ecclesiastical court. With an astonishing performance by Renée Jeanne Falconetti in the title role, this is among the most emotionally and spiritually compelling films in the history of cinema.
November 10, 2018 @ 9:30 am
Co-Presenter: Dr. Katherine Shaner, Assistant Professor of New Testament, Wake Forest University School of Divinity
A masterpiece of building tension painted in vibrant color across a soaring landscape, director Michael Powell called it “the most erotic film that I ever made.” Film scholar and critic Kent Jones describes the film as addressing “an enduring misconception: the longing, indeed fervent, belief that reality can be reconfigured to conform to an ideal image.” The film is based on an acclaimed novel by Rumer Godden who described her creativity as a gift of the Holy Spirit and nuns as “irresistibly dramatic.”