La religieuse (The Nun) (1971)



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Movie Info

This critically acclaimed moral drama is taken from a book written in 1760 by Denis Diderot. Suzanne (Anna Karina) is an intelligent, freedom-loving woman who is forced into a convent against her will. The fact that she was sired by a man who is not her mother's husband -- and that a suitable dowry cannot be paid for her -- bring her to the church. Suzanne endures continual harassment from one Mother Superior (Micheline Presle). Transferred to a different convent, she becomes subject to lesbian leanings from another Mother Superior (Liselotte Pulver), who flees with a priest (Francisco Rabal) who says he too was forced into a life of religion. The controversial subject matter caused the feature to be banned for two years, despite assurances to director Jacques Rivette by censors. The subsequent ban helped the film (shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1966) gain more recognition. Rivette's cynical references to Catholicism as the ultimate theater enraged the Catholic Film Office, the agency that spearheaded the opposition to the film. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi


Anna Karina
as Suzanne Simonin
Liselotte Pulver
as Mme. de Chelles
Micheline Presle
as Mme. de Moni
Francine Bergé
as Sister St. Christine
Francisco Rabal
as Dom Morel
Yori Bertin
as Sister St. Therese
Catherine Diamant
as Sister St. Cecile
Christiane Lénier
as Mme. Simonin
Wolfgang Reichmann
as Father Lemoine
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Critic Reviews for La religieuse (The Nun)

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (4)

It writhes with almost uncontainable surges of anger, lust, and distress.

Jan 6, 2019 | Full Review…

A great film that remains one of the cornerstones of the French New Wave.

Nov 12, 2007 | Full Review…

The French censors banned the film for over a year, thus generating both notoriety and goodwill, neither justified.

Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

A beautiful, calm, austere movie that somehow manages to be remarkably faithful to the original, yet quite different in tone.

May 9, 2005 | Rating: 4/5

Rivette suggests that these institutions, even when their stated purposes are humble and charitable, exist first and foremost to prop each other up and form a monolith against individuals.

Jan 4, 2019 | Full Review…

Neither La Religieuse nor its main character is ultimately able to see a way out of alienated individualism.

Dec 30, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

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