Thursdays (2)

Behind the Convent Walls: Bad Habits and Naughty Nuns

Programmed by Daniel Frankel


2015-01-08 @ 9:30 PM

School of the Holy Beast

(Norifumi Suzuki, 1974) · Maya Takigawa engages in one last night of debauchery before she enters the same convent in which her murdered mother once lived. She has no need to worry about a sexless future, however, as her fellow nuns fancy sadomasochism, torture, and bondage as their preferred modes of penitential practices. Sumptuously sharp cinematography and incisive commentary on relgious hypocrisy elevate this pink film to trash of the most exquisite variety.

runtime: 91 min format: 35mm


2015-01-15 @ 9:45 PM

Black Narcissus

(Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1947) · A group of nuns led by Sister Clodagh (Deborah Kerr) attempt to build a hospital and school for girls deep in the Himalayas. The virility, exoticism, and lushness of the East drive the women to struggle with repressing their passions and remaining true to their faith. A tragedy of unrequited love, madness, and death painted in glorious Technicolor hues. Despite its controversial release, the eroticism of Black Narcissus is merely powered by suggestion.

runtime: 100 min format: 35mm


2015-01-22 @ 9:15 PM

Les Démons

(Jesús Franco, 1973) · A rip-off of Russell's masterpiece The Devils, this nunsploitative take on the Inquisition is deliciously bad. An accused witch burns at the stake, but before she is engulfed in flames, she places a hex on her accusers. Two nuns are charged with being witches as a result of the curse, but they must first exact revenge and exploit in sins of their own. Franco's delicate approach to the sex and torture scenes is simultaenously unsettling and appealing.

runtime: 110 min format: 35mm


2015-01-29 @ 9:15 PM


(Luis Buñuel, 1961) · After Viridiana was sent to Cannes, Francisco Franco's regime attempted to remove the film from the festival and prevent its release. He was unsuccessful—the film won 1961's Palm d'Or—although it didn't screen in Spain until Franco died in 1977. According to Buñuel, when he wrote of the sexual awakening of a young novice about to become a nun, "he didn't set out to be blasphemous, but then Pope John XXIII is a better judge of such things than I am."

runtime: 90 min format: 35mm


2015-02-05 @ 9:30 PM

The Nun

(Jacques Rivette, 1966) · Forced into the convent at her mother's behest, Suzanne Simonin finds solace in her maternal Mother Superior. However, when both her birth mother and her Mother Superior die, Suzanne is submitted to the sexual predation, cruelty, and abuse of her new Superior, Madame de Chelles. Rivette's second film, based on Diderot's famous novel, is his most straightforward but still perverse in its own right. The film was banned for two years by the Gaulist government.

runtime: 135 min format: 35mm


2015-02-12 @ 9:45 PM

Dark Habits

(Pedro Almodóvar, 1983) · Almodóvar's third film features sisters on the verge of a nervous breakdown, each nun representing a different deadly sin and living in her own seperate world. An obstinate lounge singer seeks refuge in a covent after her lover's accidental drug overdose. She soon finds that the sisters in this asylum write lurid pulp fiction, design couture habits, shoot up heroin, snort cocaine, and trip on acid. A manic blend of melodrama, humor, and humanity.

runtime: 114 min format: 35mm


2015-02-19 @ 9:15 PM

Two Mules for Sister Sara

(Don Siegel, 1970) · Originally developed as a western for Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr, Two Mules for Sister Sara was later rewritten as a vehicle for Eastwood to play a grisly, mysterious mercenary alongside Shirley MacLaine as the eponymous revolutionary nun. Maclaine's Sara smokes Eastwood's cigars, drinks his whiskey, and shoots his rifle. Together they join forces to infiltrate a French fort and free Mexican revolutionary forces. An Eastwood/Siegel double-feature!

runtime: 116 min format: 35mm


2015-02-26 @ 10:00 PM

Nasty Habits

(Michael Lindsay-Hogg, 1977) · Made just a few years after Richard Nixon's notorious resignation from the Oval Office, Nasty Habits is a biting satire of the events surrounding the Watergate scandal, adapted from a Muriel Sparks novel called The Abbess of Crewe. Except, this time, things are a little different—instead of Nixon and Henry Kissinger, we've got Sister Alexander and Sister Gertrude, two Sisters conspiring to take over the wealthy Abbey of Philadelphia.

runtime: 96 min format: 35mm


2015-03-05 @ 9:15 PM

Sisters of Satan

(Paolo Dominici, 1973) · The year is 1577, and Mother Superior has fallen gravely ill at the Sant Arcangelo di Baiano in Naples. Seeing an opportunity to move up the ranks, Mother Giulia plots to be the successor of the title of Superior, but she knows that the sexually tormented, lusty Sister Chiara and Sister Carmela will not cede the throne to Giulia so easily. A young Ornella Muti of Flash Gordon fame plays the savvy novice opposite Anne Heywood's conniving Mother Giulia.

runtime: 100 min format: 35mm


2015-03-12 @ 9:00 PM

Sister Act

(Emile Ardolino, 1992) · Featuring Whoopi Goldberg at the height of her commercial appeal, Sister Act was one of the most succesful comedies of the period, spawning a sequel and a stage musical of the same name. It's not hard to see why—Goldberg's turn in the film as a singer employed in a Reno, NV casino who accidentally witnesses a murder and is thus sent to a convent as part of a witness protection program is frequently hilarious with sharp, well-written dialog.

runtime: 100 min format: 35mm


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