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Flavia, the Heretic (1974)

Flavia, la monaca musulmana (original title)
R | | Drama, Horror | January 1977 (USA)
During the late Middle Ages, a young woman who's been forced to become a nun by her corrupt father teams up with an army of Muslims who are invading the area, to destroy the convent and kill everyone who wronged her.

Writers:

Raniero di Giovanbattista (story), Sergio Tau (story) | 5 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Florinda Bolkan ... Flavia Gaetani
María Casares ... Sister Agatha
Claudio Cassinelli ... Abraham
Anthony Higgins ... Ahmed (as Anthony Corlan)
Spyros Fokas ... the French Duke (as Spiros Focás)
Diego Michelotti Diego Michelotti ... Flavia's Father
Raika Juri Raika Juri ... Sister Livia
Jill Pratt Jill Pratt ... Mother Superior
Franca Grey Franca Grey ... Village Girl
Laura De Marchi ... Tarantula Cult Woman
Eduardo Filipone Eduardo Filipone
Ciro Ippolito Ciro Ippolito
Carla Mancini Carla Mancini
Luigi Antonio Guerra Luigi Antonio Guerra
Giuseppe Pertile Giuseppe Pertile ... Bishop
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Storyline

Italy 1400: A convent of nuns are invaded by the Tarantula Sect on their annual pilgrimage. The cultists defile the place of worship, orgying in the chapel and desecrating the altar. One nun decides she can't take the religious oppression any longer and flees the convent upset that all the leaders are male. Written by <arviga@online.no>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She Launched A River of BLOOD

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

January 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Flavia: Heretic Priestess See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (uncut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

The movie takes place in Italy circa 1400. At one moment Flavia and Abraham are on the beach eating roasted ears of corn. See more »

Quotes

Flavia Gaetani: [addressing Christ on the cross] Why... why? Why is God male? The Father the Son and the Holy Ghost - all male. Even the twelve apostles. All twelve of them - males.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 1994 UK Redemption video was cut by 1 min 24 secs by the BBFC with edits to topless nudity, the rape of the swine-herder's daughter, a nun's breast being burnt and her nipple cut off and shots of Flavia peeling skin from an ankle wound during the flaying scene, as well as heavy edits to a horse being castrated. The 2008 Shameless DVD was fully uncut. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Unidentified Flying Oddball (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Men, eh?
5 April 2018 | by BezenbySee all my reviews

Whoops, it happened again! I was all set to watch the harmless sounding Violent Bloodbath when my finger slipped off the keyboard, grabbed this DVD and accidentally put in the in the DVD player. Fathers of teenage daughters during the early 15th century: When you notice that your teenage daughter is taking a bit of a shine to the last surviving muslim invader on a bloody battlefield, it's probably not a good idea to capture that invader, behead him, then stick his head on a pike right in front of her. That kind of things makes a lasting impression, and throwing your daughter into a convent shortly afterwards isn't going to help the situation. Flavia the Heretic is a grim document of what occurs when this happens.

Years later Flavia is still a sexually repressed nun who is about to learn a lesson that all men are bastards. The hard way. Not only does her father continually berate her, she also witnesses an arrogant Duke raping a farm girl and get away with it, and her nun friend tortured to death for letting her sexual urges get the better of her. Flavia begins to question why the world is male dominated, from religion to war to God himself, and bitter rage wells up inside. Seeing your best friend's nipple sliced off by your father's cronies will do that to you.

Of course, this being a film by Gianfranco Mingozzi, who thought it was okay to have someone drive a car into a herd of sheep in the film Island of Crime, we also get to see a horse getting castrated while Flavia watches. As Ralf Wiggum would say in the Simpsons: the castration stands for obviousness.

With the encouragement of a grizzled old nun, Flavia begins to break free from her male-dominated shackles and seeks to destroy the convent and the all the men who have supressed her all her life, except good guy Claudio Cassanelli, who plays her friendly Jew sidekick. Flavia achieves this by doing what every woman does: by joining forces with an invading muslim army and hitting it off with their leader, then using his army to kill everyone.

Whilst having a very serious point to make about male dominance and the various ways male society has crushed and controlled women in various ways (and the sad fact it seems to happen in most cultures), the film still has plenty of exploitation elements that go way beyond the boundaries of taste. For every angry speech about female power you have the rape-happy Duke getting revenge bummed by a mob of Islamic soldiers. The part that takes the biscuit for me is when Flavia drugs the entire convent and everything breaks down into a surreal orgy where one woman jumps into, that's into, the empty carcass of a bull hanging from a ceiling. When she jumps back out again and hits her head on the still attached knackers of the bull, I really did start to wonder why I watch these things.

That said, beyond all the symbolism, naked women, and suspicious absence of lesbian activity there's a good, serious film. Florinda Bolkan is no trash actress, and Claudio Cassanelli, moody as usual, supports her well.

So there you go. Flava Flav: The Movie.


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