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Jennifer Jason Leigh,
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On the surface, Mariette in Ecstasy is a very Christian movie.
On the surface, Mariette in Ecstasy is a very Christian movie. It is even more so a Catholic movie -- dealing with the very Catholic phenomenon of stigmata: the spontaneous appearance of Christ's wounds on the body of a believer. Now, keep in mind, I'm not a Christian.
I saw Mariette in Ecstasy at a 1996 pre-release screening in Santa Monica, CA (where one can so easily get free tickets weekly if one knows which street to walk down in the evenings or on the weekends).
Mariette is an extremely compelling movie -- if one is not dead-set against religion or Catholics before stepping into the theater. Mariette is a teenager who is determined to become a nun. She enters a convent as a novice and soon thereafter begins experiencing mystical transformations. Mariette's cohabitants in the nunnery do not much appreciate the attention-getting side-effects her stigmata naturally generates. The film does an excellent job presenting this difficult subject matter captivating manner.
The ending is quick and somewhat dissatisfying in concluding the story without the strong emotional sentiments generated by the rest. But the biggest disappointment was the reaction of the movie-goers. I've seen the young crowds in Santa Monica cheer some of the most atheistic and degrading of films; but most seem unable to appreciate topics outside their own experiences and mindset.
To the best of my knowledge, Mariette in Ecstasy was never released in the U.S. I suppose the distributors got discouraged by the comments on the survey forms. Too bad they caved in without giving Mariette a chance. They must have forgot that not everyone lives in Santa Monica.
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