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Rui Pedro Alves
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Avril is a novice in a convent of "Baptistine" sisters, a monastic order which was officially dissolved by the end of the nineteenth century but that is kept alive by Mère Marie Joseph, the sadistic superior. The rule she imposes on the nuns is particularly strict but this is all Avril has ever known since she was born, for she was an abandoned child raised by the nuns with a view to making one of them. While Avril is on retreat, locked in for a fortnight in a chapel prior to taking her vows, Soeur Bernadette, a sympathetic sister, discloses a secret to her: she has a twin brother and she encourages her to go looking for him... Written by
Just returned from seeing this as part of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts' tremendous yearly French Film Festival. Again, I feel so lucky to live in Boston. This was , for me, one of those rare films that really got me. It imbued me with a feeling much like that that I experienced while seeing Kurosawa's 'Dersu Uzala.'The completely believable lead actress, a novice nun raised in a convent from birth, is so filled with the glow of selfless love, that that glow spread to all around her in the film, and then out to me in the audience.
The screenplay is perfect, with a naturalness in allowing the characters to just be and look and feel. Editing is super; every shot and scene is meaningful. Dialogue too is natural, unrushed, unpretentious. The lead character grows before you over a 2 week period in a completely believable way, as she awakens to the greater world beyond the convent.I also loved all the male characters with their goodness.Very refreshing, given the portrayal of men in much of cinema today.The camaraderie and love they all shared with Avril was most heartening and I felt really fortunate to have been part of it.
I am so looking forward to this new director's next work.
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