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"Damned If You Don't is a real prize. Beautifully shot in black and white, it blends conventional narrative technique with impressionistic camerawork, symbols and voicovers to create an intimate study of sexual expression and repression. It begins with footage from a stylish old potboiler about an isolated convent, whose tale of passions leashed and unleashed provides the leitmotif for a young lesbian who watches it and the lonely nun she pursues and seduces. As the two women's lives come closer to joining, voiceovers from the biography of a 16th century lesbian nun and the reminiscences of a woman's closeted romances at a Catholic school flesh out the theme. When the two women finally meet and make love, the woman's careful unwrapping of the nun's complicated prison of clothing is both foreplay and liberating metaphor. The film is as hypnotic as a dream." Written by
Andrew Rasanen, Bay Windows
A film of repression and obsession. A nun longing to explore another woman. This experimental film by Su Friedrich takes an interminable length of time to set up the final act.
We are watching nuns hanging murals, making beds, planting roses, walking around, visiting Coney Island, saying the rosary, embroidering, and pacing in their room. Pictures that are nothing special, and similar to what a visitor to Vatican City might capture on their video camera. It is all in black and white, and contains irritating camera jumps.
While we are watching this, one woman is reading from Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy, while another is reminiscing about different nuns in her childhood.
Most viewers would have tuned out anytime during this build up and they would have missed the one minute where the nun achieves her desire. A most disappointingly brief time to compensate for the long wait.
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