Wednesday, November 16, 2016
The Innocents – faith waivers as new life emerges in a post-WW2 Polish convent (QFT 18-24 Nov)
Lou de Laâge plays the junior doctor Mathilde Beaulieu (based loosely on the experiences of Madeleine Pauliac working in Poland) who must secretly break her organisation’s rules of medical engagement to intervene while the nuns disguise their impending motherhood while continuing to lead lives of poverty, chastity and obedience. Agata Buzek plays Sister Maria who acts as the main go-between and speaker of French, perhaps the wisest and most resourceful in the holy order.
The suffering of women during and after conflict is often underreported. The Innocents tells one such story, warts and all. The countryside is snowy and desolate, the convent dull and grey, the habits black and white. The absence of colour and the minimal musical scoring allows director Anne Fontaine to keep the focus on the warmth of the women who dominate the 115 minute storyline.
There is hope and new life, but also unexpected darkness and needless death. An unexpectedly rich and thoughtful film.
The Innocents is being shown in the Queen’s Film Theatre between Friday 18 and Thursday 24 November.