“So, what are you off to see today, Janine?” they asked. Nobody suggested joining me when I told them that I was going to see a movie about Polish nuns being raped after WWII.
It was just as grim as it sounds. One day a young female French Red Cross doctor based in Poland is importuned by a nun to come to the convent. When she finally agrees, she finds a young novice giving birth. She learns that Russian soldiers had ransacked the convent three times, raping the sisters. The rapes were not just physical, but spiritual and existential as well.
The film is based on a true story (follow the link in this story to a translated interview with the real-life doctor’s nephew) although I don’t know if the ending – which I found a bit too easy – was true or not.
The cinematography is just breathtaking. The convent is surrounded by a bare forest in the snow, setting off the black-and-white habits of the nuns. But it feels almost callous to think of beauty in a story which is anything but beautiful.
Once again, it’s just about to leave Melbourne cinemas within the next few days.
My rating: 4 stars