Anne and Lore, neighbors and best friends, barely into their teens, board at a convent school where they have taken a vow to sin and to serve Satan. Anne keeps a secret diary, they read a ... See full summary »
Anne and Lore, neighbors and best friends, barely into their teens, board at a convent school where they have taken a vow to sin and to serve Satan. Anne keeps a secret diary, they read a salacious novel, they get a classmate in trouble, they spy on the nuns, they set aside their communion wafers; they make a pact of devotion. Summer vacation starts: Anne's parents leave her alone with the servants for two months at the family château. She and Lore are free to make mischief. They are cruel as well and play games of seduction. As summer ends and fall term begins, things come to a head. Written by
During the Satanic Mass and the following Lake Scene, the two girls wear see-through dresses. During the Mass, one can easily notice that Lore is wearing black panties, but, during the Lake Scene, she evidently wears nothing under her dress. See more »
DON'T DELIVER US FROM EVIL (Joël Séria - France 1971).
Anne and Lore, two young convent girls become friends and decide to spend the summer together somewhere in the French countryside. However, their relationship soon takes on a much more sinister side. Influenced by their reading of forbidden books, they decide to explore the world of perversion and cruelty. They seduce a farmer but he tries to rape one of the girls after which they barely escape. They also torture a pet bird, which I found an especially cruel. The image of the owner mourning besides his dead bird is quite shattering.
Writer-director Joël Séria largely based the film on a real-life murder case, the famous Parker-Hulme murder that took place in New Zealand in 1954. Two teenage school girls, Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, who had become obsessed with each other and with a magical "Fourth Kingdom" they had created in their minds, decided to murder Pauline's mother so that they could run away together. The case has inspired a number of books and, most famously, Peter Jackson's 1994 film HEAVENLY CREATURES.
The film was banned for blasphemy in France as it tries to flout catholicism in every way imaginable. In one particular scene, a man imposing himself as Jesus is mocked by the girls while carrying the cross and there's much more. In 1971, it was already very rare for a film to be banned on counts of blasphemy. More recently, I don't know of many films to be banned on these grounds either, but regarding the increasing Christian (and Muslim) sensibilities, a return to this kind of censorship seems almost inevitable. Most of the anti-catholic imagery will probably have little effect on most audiences now, but devout catholics will probably be gravely offended.
With its rather tasteful cinematography, relaxed pacing and well-drawn characterizations, it's more of a surreal art film than anything really exploitational. We're talking about a French film here, after all. However, many scenes, especially the rape- or near-rape scenes, will make for distinctly uncomfortable viewing and the disturbing final scene is quite shocking and came as quite a surprise to me. Although it generally comes of as the typical product of a guilt-ridden catholic (much of the film was influenced by director Joël Séria's own memories of his catholic upbringing) and the pacing was a bit slow at times, it's worth watching.
Camera Obscura --- 7/10
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