After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.
Sister Clodagh, currently posted at the Convent of the Order of the Servants of Mary in Calcutta, has just been appointed the Sister Superior of the St. Faith convent, making her the youngest sister superior in the order. The appointment is despite the reservations of the Reverend Mother who believes Sister Clodagh not ready for such an assignment, especially because of its isolated location. The convent will be a new one located in the mountainside Palace of Mopu in the Himalayas, and is only possible through the donation by General Todo Rai of Mopu - "The Old General" - of the palace, where the Old General's father formerly kept his concubines. On the Old General's directive, the convent is to provide schooling to the children and young women, and general dispensary services to all native residents who live in the valley below the palace. Accompanying Sister Clodagh will be four of the other nuns, each chosen for a specific reason: Sister Briony for her strength, Sister Phillipa who...Written by
St Faith (Sainte Foy in French, Santa Fe in Spanish) is supposedly a French martyr executed at Agen in Gaul (France) during the period when Diocletian was persecuting the Christians. She was tortured to death in a red-hot brazier. Her shrine is at Conques, France. See more »
During a shot of the Himalayan mountains, stagehands can be seen standing and walking about behind the scrim on which the mountains are painted. See more »
The story line for this movie has been covered by many reviewers and I will make no attempt to further explain the plot. What I will point you to are the most incredible cinematography and acting elements of this classic presentation. Technicolor is remarkably presented by Jack Cardiff and I have yet to see a movie which is so visually vibrant and pleasing. Some of the still paintings and sets at Pinewood are truly remarkable considering this picture was made over 50 years ago. Alfred Junge must take credit for those remarkable designs and sets. The acting is pure theater with an absolutely insane delivery by Kathleen Byron (Sister Ruth) as the emotionally fragile nun slowly loosing grip with reality. Her red lipstick scene is pure magic as is her appearance from the large wooden doors, pale, insane and soaked in water towards the end of the movie. What a terrific shot displaying her insanity captured in all the right mood, music and color. Deborah Kerr (Sister Clodagh) does same amazing acting with visual delight and incredible facial expressions. Her anger scenes are quite remarkable throughout the film as she shakes with pure venom at Sister Ruth. The terror in her face where she prays alone in the chapel with Sister Ruth roaming the stairways is quite remarkable. There are many other memorable scenes with light, color and music which makes this the best movie of Powell and Pressburger (IMHO). Buy the Criterion DVD and watch it endlessly.
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