1961-1970ArthouseClassicsJerzy KawalerowiczPoland

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

In the seventeenth century, Father Suryn arrives in Ludyn, a village on what was then the eastern border of Poland, to perform exorcisms on the Ursuline nuns who are allegedly possessed by the devil. While trying to drive evil spirits out of the body of the prioress, Mother Joan, Father Suryn starts experiencing uncomfortably secular and sensual feelings towards her.

One of the most celebrated achievements of the Polish Film School, this is not a war drama like Andrzej Wajda’s Kanal or Andrzej Munk’s Eroica but a religious and psychological study. Screenwriters Tadeusz Konwicki and Jerzy Kawalerowicz, the latter also directing the film, took a novella by Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz and retold the famous narrative of the possessed nuns in the French monastery of Loudun by transferring it to 17th century Poland and emphasizing its universal dimension.

This universality on screen is accentuated by the film’s ascetic form, achieved by limiting the set design to just a few sacred and secular buildings, situated in a desert landscape. The black and white images by cinematographer Jerzy Wójcik are dominated by shades of grey, symbolising the ambiguity of reality. Mother Joan of the Angels is a masterfully executed film, with outstanding acting by Lucyna Winnicka and Mieczyslaw Voit, whose characters touch on many problems. The clash between religious dogma and human nature is only one of them.

1.80GB | 1 h 49 min | 756×576 | mkv



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