Les Innocentes (2016) [aka Agnus Dei] - review

Door Janreviews gepubliceerd op Saturday 19 March 20:37

"Les Innocentes" takes place in Poland in late 1945 and early 1946, right after the Second World War ended. This film tells the story of how a French Red Cross nurse assists several Polish nuns in delivering their babies. Towards the end of the war, a group of Soviet comrades raided their monastery and raped many of them. 

Mathilde is brought to the monastery by one of the nuns, who realises that one of the other nuns needs professional help to safely deliver her baby. She sneaks Mathilde into the convent, much to the disapproval of Mother Superior. Mathilde performs a caesarean on the nun, because the baby is in breech position, and the child is born safely. 

When she returns to the hospital the next day, she cannot focus on the surgery she is supposed to assist in performing, so the doctor - and her lover - dismisses her. She returns to the convent in secret to take care of the mother and her child. The nun who escorted her out the day before, informs her of how the nun became pregnant and tells Mathilde how many nuns in the monastery are also with child. Mathilde decides to help them.

This was a very interesting film to watch, because I didn't know any of the actresses - there are hardly any men in the film, which makes sense, because it takes place mostly in a convent - because I don't know Polish and much of the dialogue is in Polish and because I hadn't considered what happened to religious orders in Soviet Poland.

I had seen the trailer multiple times and I expected the visuals to be stunning. This was only partially true. On the one hand, it really surprised me how powerful the close-ups were. In many films, close-ups are overused and they lose their power; this was not the case in "Les Innocentes". On the other hand, I expected more from the shots of the nuns walking through the snowy woods. They could've used some shots of dirty snow to symbolise the violated purity of the nuns. There was a beautiful wide shot of a nun walking through a pasture and I had hoped they would've used more shots of that ilk.

The film is around a 100 minutes long and that is actually just long enough. I'm happy it didn't become a Greek tragedy with hysterical crying and shouting, which it might have resulted in if it had been longer. 

It is startling to realise that this actually happened: this film was based on the diary of the actual French Red Cross nurse!

I highly recommend this film: it is important to know this part of history, the acting is very good and it is always a good idea to support a good film directed by a woman!

Reacties (0) 

Voordat je kunt reageren moet je aangemeld zijn. Login of maak een gratis account aan.