In all honesty, I have to point out right away that this user-comment starts out with an error in its title. "The Nun of Monza" is not exactly the very first nunsploitation movie ever made. There's at least one (and perhaps some others that I totally don't know about) movie handling about the same topic, and it predates this version with more than five years. Only that movie also named "The Nun of Monza" is more difficult to track down than the lost continent of Atlantis and I doubt it'll ever be available in a decent version. In general, Eriprando Visconti's film may be considered the pioneer of nunsploitation, as it got released a couple years before the sub genre's most famous titles like Ken Russell's "The Devils", Jess Franco's "The Sex Demons" and Gianfranco Mingozzi's "Flavia The Heretic". And particularly because it was the first of its kind, you better not expect to see a movie filled with perverted sex scenes and explicit violence! Filmmakers like the aforementioned Jess Franco or Joe D'Amato made the term "nunsploitation" a synonym with pure sleaze, as the setting offers an easy excuse to show loads of lesbian sex, insane devil-worshiping rituals and brutal whippings. "The Nun of Monza", however, is a very serious and devastating drama, based on true events that took place early in 17th Century in Italy and emphasizing on the hypocrisy and abuse of power of the Catholic Church. The story is incredibly convoluted and often difficult to follow, but at the same time truly fascinating and the recreation of time & era are brilliant. Spaniards occupied the whole of Italy and even the poorest inhabitants of small villages are forced to pay taxes. The young sister Virginia de Leyva is Mother Superior against her will and her convent offers refugee to a handsome stud that killed a Spanish tax collector. During his stay at the convent, Giampaolo rapes Virginia and gets thrown in jail. When she gives birth to a daughter nine months later, Virginia and Giampaolo flee together, also charged with the murder of a fellow convent sister. The story is far more detailed than this, with treasonous characters and sexual corruption behind every convent door, but it's too much to summarize here. For as far as I remember the stuff my high-school history teacher attempted to tell me, the political background of this film is accurate to the tiniest detail. It's also a very well made film, especially considering the low production values! The cinematography and decors are extremely stylish and the film also benefits from a splendid Ennio Morricone score. The acting is great with Antonio Sabato ("Seven Blood-Stained Orchids") and Anne Heywood ("What Waits Below") bringing an amazing and plausible chemistry on screen. A beautiful movie, but certainly not for all tastes.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?