DVD: The Nun
Godard muse Anna Karina stars as Suzanne Simonin, a young woman removed from her family, supposedly for financial reasons, and placed, reluctantly, in a convent. Initially she is looked after by the kindly mother superior, until she dies and is replaced by a sadistic woman who torments Suzanne relentlessly. Suzanne petitions a lawyer to help her secure her freedom. Later a move to another convent produces a whole new series of problems.Adapted by New Wave director Rivette from the novel ‘La Religieuse’ by 18th Century philosopher-writer Denis Diderot, in which Suzanne stood as a symbol for freedom, the story found its analogue in turbulent pre-1968 De Gaulle-era France. Shockingly, the film was banned, which caused a huge outcry in the supposedly aggressively secular France (although it was allowed a screening at the Cannes Film Festival). The words ‘ban’ , ‘nun’ and ‘French film’ might lead some to expect something a little more lurid a la Ken Russell’s The Devils; this is in fact an austere and thoughtful work with a measured and attentive central performance from Karina. The restoration brings Alain Levent’s beautiful blue, grey, and red-hued photography back to its full glory.The package includes an informative documentary about the ban (it was De Gaulle’s wife wot dun it apparently) and a charmingly discursive interview with Karina.
The Nun is available on DVD, Blu-ray and available for download now.