Flavia the Heretic (1974)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A young girl in the 13th century is sent to a nunnery in Portugal. There she is subjected to torture, rape and whippings, but she escapes with a Jewish man named Abraham. She soon takes on a Muslim lover, who leads an invading army that castrates rapists. Amazingly enough, some of this story is actually based on historical fact.
Art House & International , Drama , Horror
Directed By:
Written By:
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Jill Pratt
as Mother Superior
María Casares
as Sister Agatha
Spiros Focás
as Il duca francese{ita}
Laura De Marchi
as Tarantula Cult Woman
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Flavia the Heretic

All Critics (1)

Heretic can be crude with bizarre flashes of brutality, but it remains potent and thought-provoking, reflecting on a bound existence with unusual patience and respect for its audience.

Full Review… | February 28, 2014

Audience Reviews for Flavia the Heretic

Borderline nunsploitation historical drama that was far better in terms of story, acting and production values than I would have expected. Sure, there's some nudity thrown in to keep things interesting, and the violence can get pretty bloody at times, but in the main it's about a medieval feminist, the power of the church, and the use of religion in general as grounds for men to kill one another. Interesting enough to warrant a viewing. Based, probably quite loosely, on real events but by no means a documentary. Florinda Bolkan turns in a strong and icy performance in the lead role.

Brian Seitzman
Brian Seitzman

Italian Nunsploitation drama set in Medieval Southern Italy during the Islamic invasion. A little unfair to label this a nunsploitation film to be honest, it's better than that and is quite well made. Of course there's a bit of sex, nudity and torture but it's relevant to the story which is allegedly based on true events. The actress that plays the rebel nun is quite good and the film has an authentic look. It's not great, a little slow at times, but worth a look. Be warned - there's a horse castration scene! Painful!

Lee ?
Lee ?

Super Reviewer

All anyone ever talks about regarding this film are the violent scenes, but there's a lot more going on than that in Flavia the Heretic. Flavia is strongly anchored by the always amazing Florinda Bolkan in the titular role. I've seen her in many films and she has yet to disappoint. Truly an undervalued performer. Here she essays the role of a 16th century cloistered nun whose liberation from Catholic dogma leads her away from her pacifist Jewish admirer and onto the blood-caked role of heretical Muslim warrior. The score by Nicolo Piovani (who, years later won Best Score Oscar for Life is Beautiful, but the Flavia score is far superior). is sublime, and for years, it's been rumoured that Piovani was a pseudonym for Ennio Morricone, but that seems to have been debunked recently. Ironic, as Flavia's score reminds me of Morricone's stellar work on The Great Silence. Both scores have deeply melancholy recurring melodies that underlie the tragic fates of their eponymous outsider protaganists. And, just to address the curious gorehounds - yes, there are very graphic scenes, and the ending above all is indeed truly painful to watch. Very gruesome - and sad, as Florinda plays it. As far as "nunsploitation" goes, this certainly doesn't hit the heights of The Devils or even my beloved Alucarda, but it's still a gem of the genre, and a great movie on its own terms as well.

Henry Covert
Henry Covert

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