Masters from Poland
Polish Film School
Mother Joan of the Angels
Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Cast: Lucyna Winnicka, Mieczyslaw Voit, Anna Ciepielewska
Poland, 112’, 1961, black and white
Latin and Polish with Turkish subtitles
Taking the infamous and documented 'demonic possession' of a group of nuns in Loudun, France in 1634 as his starting point (events subsequently also adapted by Ken Russell for his notorious film The Devils), director Jerzy Kawalerowicz created an intensely provocative and visually astonishing film. Aided by an extraordinary performance by Lucyna Winnicka as Mother Joan, the possessed Mother Superior of the convent, and Mieczysław Voit as the troubled priest Father Józef Suryn, Kawalerowicz's masterpiece is a profoundly disturbing exploration of faith, repression, fanaticism and sexuality.