In World War II, the widow Barny sees the Italian soldiers arriving in occupied Saint Bernard while walking to her job. Barny lives with her daughter and works correcting tests and feels a ... See full summary »
In World War II, the widow Barny sees the Italian soldiers arriving in occupied Saint Bernard while walking to her job. Barny lives with her daughter and works correcting tests and feels a great attraction toward her boss Sabine. When the Germans arrive, Barny sends her half-Jewish daughter to live in a farm in the countryside and finds that Sabine's brother has been arrested and sent to a concentration camp. The atheist Barny decides to baptize her daughter to protect her and chooses priest Léon Morin to discuss with him themes related to religion and Catholicism and Léon lends books to her. Barny converts to the Catholicism and becomes closer to Léon, feeling an unrequited desire for him. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
An atheist/communist widow in occupied France strikes up a relationship with a progressive priest, getting both more than she bargained for and not enough to satisfy her. Melville brings a lot of interesting touches to this story, especially in his editing techniques. The film flows casually, and yet few scenes last longer than about a minute and a half. There's very little narrative filler, cutting right to the heart of their theological discussions and Emmanuelle Riva's internal struggles. It's an unusual movie with a lot going for it, including some engaging dialogues. But I had difficulty connecting with the characters. Barny is too malleable... perhaps it's the time compression, but she seems to come to certain major decisions/revelations far too easily. And while Belmondo is surprisingly not too distracting as a priest, Morin is too idealized. Maybe Barny's feelings wouldn't be so strong if we were to see his flaws, but he always seems to have the exact right thing to do or say. I suppose the larger issue could be that I don't care much for religious subject matter, but this hasn't stopped me from loving other films on the topic. Nonetheless, I'm glad I watched this.
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