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La Religieuse screening at BAMPFA

In La Religieuse by Jacques Rivette (1965), Anna Karina plays a young woman forced to become a nun in Rivette’s notorious adaptation of Diderot’s novel. A work of “brilliant filmmaking and impassioned restraint, as sumptuous in its color photography as it is austere in its mise-en-scène” (New York Times).

Banned for two years in France for its supposedly excessive attack on the Church, Rivette’s adaptation of Denis Diderot’s famous novel of eighteenth-century convent life became a cause célèbre. Anna Karina plays a young woman, Suzanne, whose parents force her to enter a convent. The institution proves prisonlike and on a deeper level of individual repression, is revealed as an arena for sexual hysteria and slavery. In her drive for freedom from authoritarian abuse in its myriad forms, Suzanne moves inexorably towards tragedy. Rivette’s style, rigorous and simple, perfectly expresses this movement and the claustrophobic world from which there is no escape.

Digital restoration. Featuring Anna Karina, Liselotte Pulver, Micheline Presle, Christine Lenier.