If Nicloux’s version of Diderot’s novel about a young woman forced to take the veil to expiate a mother’s single sin doesn’t match the emotional power of Jacques Rivette’s 1966 version, it’s mainly because times have changed: religion is even less of a sacred cow than it was then. Inevitably, Etienne’s convincing portrayal of ardor and indignation as she suffers the rapacious cruelty and not-so-sly lustings of two Mother Superiors (Bourgoin and Huppert) is effective and certainly well-presented – but somehow unsurprising.
La Religieuse (Die Nonne) | Directed by Guillaume Nicloux (France, Germany, Belgium 2013) with Pauline Etienne, Louise Bourgoin, and Isabelle Huppert. Starts October 31
Originally published in issue #121, November 2013