Jerzy Kawalerowicz – Matka Joanna od aniolów AKA Mother Joan of the Angels (1961)


The film script is based on the famous story by Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz. The action is set during the 18th century at a remote convent in the Smolenszczyzna region. The nuns together with their prioress Joanna, are possessed by demons and a young priest Suryn comes to exorcise the convent. However his measures of prayer and mortification do no have any effect and moreover, the priest begins to experience the weird atmosphere of anxiety which pervades the convent. He is torn by spiritual dilemmas and feels lost. He does not realize that his problems stem from a purely secular love towards prioress Joanna and when she pushes him to take a dramatic step, the priest decides to purge the woman, even at the price of mortal sin. Continue reading

Jerzy Kawalerowicz – Maddalena (1971)

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The film Maddalena tells the story of a woman who is desperate to find real love in a real steady relationship on the one hand; and a priest who is doubting his ability to cope with celibacy on the other hand. When Maddalena decides the priest is the man that she wants, an atmosphere of erotic tension and self-questioning about true Faith fill up the air. The film is long forgotten (thus the five), but the score for the film, parts of which were used in other films, is considered by some as one of Morricone’s finest, and quite rightly so. The already mentioned title part ‘Come Maddalena’, which mixes jazzy drumming with a modest church organ, the lyrical voices of Edda dell’Orso and a scatting choir, is probably one of the most evocative and thrilling parts of film music I have ever heard. Long before the world had ever heard of lounge music and chill-out, maestro Morricone must have sent the shivers down many a spine… as he has done so many times before and after. Continue reading