7.7/10
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11 user 28 critic

Mother Joan of the Angels (1961)

Matka Joanna od aniolów (original title)
A priest is sent to a small parish in the Polish countryside which is believed to be under demonic possession and there he finds his own temptations awaiting.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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Antosia / Girl at the Inn
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Father Brym
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Chrzaszczewski / Squire
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Wincenty Wolodkowicz / Innkeeper
Jerzy Kaczmarek ...
Kaziuk
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Odryn
Jaroslaw Kuszewski ...
Juraj
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Piatkowski
Marian Nosek ...
Dominican Priest
Jerzy Walden ...
Dominican Priest
Marian Nowak
...
Exorcist
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Storyline

Set in the 17th century. A convent in a small town is being visited by high-ranking Catholic official trying to exorcise the nun supposedly posessed by demons. A local priest have been burnt for creating this condition by sexual temptation of the nuns, especially the Mother superior who bring on the collective hysteria of the group. There is another young priest who is to help with the exorcism. His first meeting with the convent head, Mother Joanne of the Angels, has her seemingly posessed by Satan - she yells blasphemies and incites the priest. She begs the priest to save her and to help her to be a saint. Written by Polish Cinema Database <http://info.fuw.edu.pl/Filmy/>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Mystery

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Details

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Release Date:

9 February 1961 (Poland)  »

Also Known As:

Joan of the Angels?  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on the same 17th century historical incident that was also the basis for Ken Russell's "The Devils". See more »

Quotes

Father Jozef Suryn: All redemption is in love. Love is as strong as death.
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Connections

Version of Mark of the Devil Part II (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Theme Music
Performed by the Polish Radio Choirs
Conducted by Tadeusz Dobrzanski
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User Reviews

 
Superb Polish tale of Exorcism

Father Jozef Suryn (Mieczyslaw Voit) is the latest in a long line of priests dispatched to an isolated 17th century convent to investigate the rumours of satanic obsession and possession affecting the nuns who live there. His particular task is to exorcise Mother Joan of the Angels,(Lucyna Winnicka) the mother superior of the convent who it would seem is possessed by numerous demons. Father Josef has been in training so to speak for many weeks, through prayer, abstinence, limited fasting and self flagellation and when he arrives at a nearby inn, he is shocked at the rumours he hears from the locals,who seem to take great pleasure in telling him of his difficult task, a task it would appear his that is going to be very difficult as the previous incumbent of his job had just recently been burnt at the stake.

Mother Joan of the Angels was in fact based on real events and might be considered by some as one of the earliest examples of Nunsploitation, but the film is not exploitative in any way and never resorts to nudity or explicit sex, in fact it's a beautifully filmed, superbly acted horror drama that it would seem was very influential on William Friedkin's The Exorcist(1973), in fact if I hadn't previously known of its influence I would be comparing it to that film along with perhaps Bergman's Sjunde inseglet, Det (1957)a film set in a similar time frame that also boasts many wonderful scenes of rusticity amongst the peasants and that explores their every fear, not least in the first 15 mins where Mother Joan of the Angels is, it must be said, slow to get going, but in a good way, as Kawalerowicz builds up the tension, there is much talk and speculation amongst the peasants as the demonic things that go in the convent, the viewer is left in high anticipation of the evil that lurks there. The stunning high contrast black & white photography by Jerzy Wójcik is reminiscent of many an expressionistic silent era film, in particular the first meeting between the two main characters is superb as the juxtaposition of Suryn's black hair, black beard and black robe against Mother Joan's pure white habit and headdress is very striking, mainly because the classic colours of good and evil are actually reversed, for Mother Joan is possessed by no less than eight demons which don't take long to show themselves to Suryn, his plight seems doomed to failure as he is a man unsure of his own ability, his wide eyes giving away his fear of the demons and his task ahead. On the whole the film is an very intelligent character study that also touches on some very interesting theological issues, issues that are explored when Suryn goes to a local Rabbi for help. The only negative I would say for the film concerns the DVD which had some really poor subtitles, other than that I can't recommend it highly enough.9/10


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