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August 29, 2006

Story of a Cloistered Nun


Storia di una Monaca di Clausura
Domenico Paolella - 1973
NoShame Films Region 1 DVD

As far as exploitation movies about nuns go, The Story of a Cloistered Nun is quite pretty to look at. The film combines the expected contents of a film by Jesus Franco, with nuns getting whipped, naked, or hot and heavy with lovers of both sexes, with the sumptous costuming and colors of something from Merchant-Ivory. This may be an oxymoron to describe this as a tasteful exploitation film. This isn't the delirious trash of Killer Nun or Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun, but neither is it as serious as Rivette's The Nun.

Eleonora Giorgi is the young woman banished by her family after refusing an arranged marriage. As Carmela, Giorgi finds herself pitted between the hedonistic Sister Elizabeth (Catherine Spaak) and the Mother Superior (Suzy Kendall). Carmela also sneaks out of the convent to resume her affair with Julian who gets the novice pregnant. Word gets back to the Vatican that an unidentified nun has given birth. The scene where the nuns all claim to be the mother to protect Carmela plays almost as a parody of the hundreds of slaves claiming to be Spartacus.

The DVD includes interviews with Giorgi, arguably more attractive now as a "woman of a certain age", as well as supporting actor Umberto Orsini. Along with two trailers, and liner notes about "nunsploitation" films, I have to suspect that NoShame realizes The Story of a Cloistered Nun should be regarded primarily as an entertaining trifle compared to many of their other releases.

Coincidentally, I should note that Giorgi, Spaak and Kendall all starred in films by Dario Argento. I guess that when one portrays a bad nun, one also has to give the devil his due.

Posted by peter at August 29, 2006 05:53 PM