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In fourteenth-century England, peasant girl Christine Carpenter is so attracted to a statue of the Virgin Mary that the local priest (who lusts after her) suggests she be walled up in the church as an anchoress, a holy woman with responsibility for blessing the villagers. But when the priest has Christine's mother tried as a witch, she digs herself out of her cell, a crime for which the punishment is death...Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Christine and Meg are decorating the Virgin Mary with apples, they go up a ladder, which clearly ends on a small ledge inside the church. Cut scenes then indicate that the ladder actually leads to the top of an apple tree somewhere outside. See more »
shot in B&W, but with a glaring brightness at times, "Anchoress" unravels a strange slice of life of a young woman who feels called to live in a cell of a church within sight of a statue of the Virgin. the Cult of Mary was strong in the medieval times (and i suppose it still continues today), and this and other bits of the medieval life bring some historical credibility to the screen.
but far from being a sort of documentary, there are surreal and mystical elements too, which i think should serve to appeal to a modern audience. this film has what i would consider an art-house feel, but it also bears a purity to the viewer, of a simple age where belief meant everything and proof is almost heretical.
whether a character has truly experienced a vision, or is a witch, or is holy,is never justly determined by the characters in their peasant lives, but is merely enforced by entrenched codes of social, religious, and other laws. to watch christine encounter each of these, to watch her life and her family be affected by the strangeness of the story and the rules of the age is captivating to behold.
i found this film to be beautiful, bizarre, with a wonderful cast, as faithful as possible to the historically-known experiences of folk in European middle ages (well, aside from the imaginative bits), comical, tragic, but entirely fascinating.
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