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Edward L. Cahn
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A story of corruption, redemption, hate, envy, miracle, faith, which gets straight to one's heart.
ATTENTION, SPOILERS A great movie, in my opinion, by virtue both of direction and actors, as for the themes it deals with. The very title reminds of the story of the Magdalene of the gospels, a perverted woman, who was converted by knowing Jesus, and radically changed her life. What more, she was chosen by Jesus to be a witness of His resurrection. The Magdalene of this movie is very interesting: she is not only a prostitute who, by making that work, has learned to despise herself like her customers despise her, but she is also a woman who has a down on God because of the death of her child (a girl 7 or 8 years old). In real life she's not the only one who feels like that. Despite this, grace touches her heart many times in many ways, until her icy heart melts, her anger cools off, and she steps, in tears, to repentance. Though the director tells about conversion and repentance, about miracles and grace, does not shoot a movie of mushy feelings and honey. Evil exists, human nature was damaged by the original sin, and it would be hypocritical to deny or minimize it. In fact the people of the village are depicted in all their wretchedness and hypocrisy. Envy and pride reign over them, and the priest vainly tries to bring them back to a more Christian attitude. Gossiping is the favorite sport of the women. Furthermore, none of them seems to have learned from the gospel's episode where Jesus saves the adulteress from lapidation. Only an horrible and irreparable misdeed can open their eyes, and make them take off their hat. Even the slanderer realizes what he has done and repents. Very intense and touching is the scene where Magdalene dies among the arms of the priest. It is a very well made, well acted movie, shot through with real faith. We miss today catholic directors like Genina very much, because it is a long time that directors who declare themselves believers shoot fake, superficial, artificial movies, full of mushy feelings. This movie, instead, is very true and sincere.
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