All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.
I suppose it was only fitting that I rejoined my run of The Archers films today with this particular film after making this list earlier!
I have to admit to being rather daunted by the prospect of watching Black Narcissus. In fact, it's probably a feeling I have about almost all of The Archers films. Not because I was worried about them being difficult or complex - in fact, so far they have all been about as approachable a selection of films that the uninitiated could possibly hope them to be.
It was more to do with the writing about them afterwards that I was daunted by. You become aware, even…
The theme is from Forster and I Know Where I’m Going!, worked out "at the back of the beyond" by The Archers at their most carnal-bonkers-sublime. The old harem known as "the House of Women" is perched on the edge of Himalayan precipices, turning it into "the House of St. Faith" is the mission accepted by the Irish Sister Superior (Deborah Kerr) and her Anglican order. Quite a challenge for sanctity: There are howling winds up above and drums in the bamboo jungle below, plus the hirsute thighs of the sardonic government agent (David Farrar) to erode the resolve behind the pale habits. The stony cloister with clogged-up plumbing, the bejeweled Little General (Sabu) and the wayward odalisque (Jean Simmons),…
Film #29 of Project 40
”Remember, the superior of all is the servant of all.”
To put it simply Black Narcissus is about failure. About limitation. About arrogance. About madness. It was a terrifying experience to tell you the truth. On the surface it is a gorgeously shot movie with sharp colors and beautiful scenery but beneath this dazzling superficial layer lies a petrifying world of carnal desires, verbal threats and mental confusion with characters who are haunted by their own fears and doubts. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger take their characters to the end of the world and leave them alone with their own erratic minds and erotic fantasies and then witness their physical, spiritual and mental collapse. Black…
Director: Michael Powell (and Emeric Pressburger) (Third Film)
Black Narcissus is startling. It's startling because of its omniscient and thick erotic atmosphere, and all of this, in a film about nuns setting up a school in India. The immediate purity of the clothing worn by the nuns is (yet again) masterfully inventive as it opposes the natural and vibrant colours of the Himalayas and its surrounding terrain. Carnality meets oppressed sexuality in a film that doesn't rely on plot or story but wholly on the colours to express, and the atmosphere to emote and the occasional spike in emotional verbalisation from a hysterical Kathleen Byron.
Her moments are the pinnacle because of her fantastical performance: and her hysteria…
This one's going to take some time and another viewing or three to properly absorb. But it's absolutely brilliant.
A meditation on spiritual commitment versus the temptations of the world, set in a nunnery high in the Himalyas. And what a world. Gold, silk, flowers, mountains. Men who run around with their shirts off -- and who remind Deborah Kerr's nun of her lost love. Sensual Indian paintings on the wall of the old palace where the nuns now reside; look carefully, and you'll find a few bare breasts on the walls. Candlelight dancing in the dark hallways.
And all of it shot in gorgeous technicolor by Jack Cardiff. It's not as unreal as The Red Shoes, and yet the…
Step off the edge of the Himalayas and float beside the nuns.
This movie is beautiful. A shining example of an early film that decided to use color to help tell the story. The setting provides the opportunity for some of the most creative and visually inventive film techniques. It's no wonder this film cleaned up awards for Best Cinematography. The film focuses on a small village which is home to, The House of Women, set on a cliff. Coincidentally, The House of Women, ends up being a house for a group of nuns trying to bring education, healthcare, and the good word to these native people. Using models and trick photography, Powell, Pressburger, and designer Junge brought this fictional…
Not a frame is wasted in Black Narcissus; every shot (and I mean that quite literally) is rendered as beautifully as the tableaus that are also on display during the film. This is, quite seriously, one of the most beautiful films ever made. Makes me even more excited to watch The Red Shoes.
I can't talk about the film much on a thematic level though.
An apt analogy: The Archers are to Film as Chopin is to his Music.
I haven't been able to get that analogy out of my head for awhile now, but the technicolor photography and the gracefulness of the actors (particularly the women - I'm fascinated with the way that the nuns move) reminds me very much of Chopin's music (who, I believe, once said that he writes as a woman moves).
Another dazzling cinematic feast from the golden age. This film is a gem among gems. I saw part of it when I was much younger. What struck me then is the same thing that struck me in this complete viewing of the film: The innovative cinematography of Jack Cardiff who so greatly deserved the Oscar he received in his respective category that year. What's more, the matte work in this picture is impressively detailed, lush and majestic; one is really convinced of the world the characters inhabit. It's a perfect scenario really; the very ardent, sensuous setting of the Himalayas juxtaposed with the conflict of spirit thats so pervasive as a theme throughout the film. This is a scenario where the film's imagery serves the thread of the story. I recommend this film to anyone who enjoys classic films, and award winners. Anyone with a eye for cinematography with appreciate the technical achievements of this film.
Black Narcissus insinuates it is a black-and-white film trapped in technicolor. Although the Himalayan landscape sympathizes gorgeously with Jack Cardiff's cinematography, and the film is brought by the team who constructed one of the most alluring and vibrant films ever, The Red Shoes, black-and-white comprehending in Black Narcissus would be incredibly impeccable and ideal in my perspective. Its only colorful aspects are the costume and the palace which are impressively shown, but a nun in black-and-white with this cinematography should blossom.
And yet despite a personal preference, the film is nevertheless beautiful and mysterious. In spite of cascading here and there with a few underwhelming and quickly done scene changes, it still holds a mesmerizing and majestically foreboding aura you can't shake loose.
Filled with wonderful set pieces and lucious landscapes, Black Narcissus is great story with a surprisingly tense conclusion. Excellent film.
I have seen this more often than I can count and each time I am more enchanted by the beauty of its images and astounded that it could possibly have been shot on the studio lot in England. Reviewed on flickersintime.com
stunning piece of work, and not only for it's time
Anglican nuns, led by the stern Sister Clodagh, attempt to establish a religious community in the Himalayas.
Semi-masterpiece by Powell/Pressburger, full of love and passion, exotic and almost dream-like settings, schmaltzy music and colorful photography.
“For the natural Man is an enemy to God, and has been from the Fall of Adam.”
This film is about tension. Mankind, over time, has constructed a more and more complex apparatus to try and rise above the chaos of nature, but in our efforts have created our own brand of chaos. A puritanical domesticity that seeks to psychologically castrate ourselves, despite the fact that our innate virility is still there. Granted, I’m talking about nuns, so these metaphors involving balls don’t work perfectly here, but there is still a strong pull from the genesis of mankind within each of these nuns that responds to the proximity to a people that still live in harmony to it. This proximity,…
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
- The Racket
- 7th Heaven
- Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
- Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
- Citizen Kane
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Tokyo Story
- The Rules of the Game