1941 in a small town in Nazi occupied France. Against the will of its elderly male and his adult niece residents, the Nazis commandeer a house for one of their officers, Lt. Werner von ... See full summary »
A French UN delegate has disappeared into thin air, sending reporter Moreau (Jean-Pierre Melville) and hard drinking photographer Delmas (Pierre Grasset) on an assignment to find him. Their only lead is a picture of three women.
In World War II, the widow Barny sees the Italian soldiers arriving in occupied Saint Bernard while walking to her job. Barny lives with her daughter and works correcting tests and feels a great attraction toward her boss Sabine. When the Germans arrive, Barny sends her half-Jewish daughter to live in a farm in the countryside and finds that Sabine's brother has been arrested and sent to a concentration camp. The atheist Barny decides to baptize her daughter to protect her and chooses priest Léon Morin to discuss with him themes related to religion and Catholicism and Léon lends books to her. Barny converts to the Catholicism and becomes closer to Léon, feeling an unrequited desire for him.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
For someone seeking a movie that approaches faith, spirituality, and doubt in an intelligent, respectful manner, without pushing any particular agenda, Jean-Pierre Melville's Léon Morin, Priest may well be an excellent choice. It is a thinking film that does not tell anyone what to think, a wry film that does not take its subject lightly, and a contentious film that does not devolve into belligerence.
Perhaps you are weary of watching incendiary exposés in which smug non-believers do their best to make fools of people who are devout but not particularly articulate, quick witted, or well educated. It could be that you are interested in religious discussions that offer more than joking, mocking, and self-righteous phonies trying to out-Jesus one another in the name of social status.
Maybe you find no appeal in films that feature religion as little more than a means of identifying who to blow up, or perchance you have had enough of seeing reasonable questions about religious dogma summarily cast aside as blasphemy by a bunch of mindless sheep* that would not know their savior from a hole in the ground.
These are all cases that bode well for Léon Morin, Priest being a good movie to watch, because it is nothing like Religulous, Bruce Almighty, or Saved!
Instead, Léon Morin, Priest is a tale with a lot of smart dialogue between a young priest and an avowed atheist, several scenes depicting the occupation of France during World War II, some appropriate humor to keep things from getting too heavy, and a few romantic elements that won't even make grandma blush. Well OK, she might blush once or twice, but that is about it, and really, it's good for her.
* As it turns out, Melville was fresh out of mindless sheep when he made this film. Speculation remains unconfirmed as to whether or not this is due to his alleged reliance upon the virtually unknown Monty Python Sheep Shoppe, which, despite claims to the contrary, appears not to stock any variety of sheep.
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