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.
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),…
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…
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…
"Immaculate in its conception and second to nun!" - rejected tagline
It's a slow fuse, but I'd say based on the way the temperature in the room suddenly rose, the wick makes contact with the powder right about where there's a close-up of Sister Ruth very deliberately putting on lipstick. See also "sultry" in the dictionary. She'd gone native.
After seeing a young Deborah Kerr as a nun, I think I am required to go to confession and denounce all of the impure thoughts that I had while watching this.
Black Narcissus stirred me a lot more than I had thought it would. Its premise is simple, but to base judgment of this this film on its premise would be to undersell its greatest quality. Black Narcissus follows a group of nuns as they attempt to inhabit a remote and exotic portion of the Himalayan Mountains, but it soon becomes something more. It becomes an example of the great effectiveness of slow tension building and the fear that can arise of from emotional strain. At the centre of this film is the wonderful performance Deborah Kerr, whose performance I loved in the horror classic The Innocents. She’s a wonderful actress with an expressive yet subtle face. She is able to…
Forse l'apice della ricerca pittorica e sensuale del duo: un melodramma come sempre spiazzante nei toni e nelle scelte narrative che usa i colori, le luci, gli odori, i corpi per far esplodere le pulsioni. Sempre più vicini al cinema puro
So lush and gorgeous. And in color! It grows from a fairly stately story to one that's blooming in melodrama, and it's just amazing.
I make no bones about it, I don't like films about nuns, however Black Narcissus isn't (thankfully) your conventional nun film and while perhaps not quite a million miles away, it is still an awfully long way away from The Sound Of Music, The Singing (or for that matter Flying) Nun, The Nun's Story or The Bells of St. Mary’s. For one thing religion isn't rammed down our throats and there's no divine intervention, rather it's a story of a group of unsuitable woman in the wrong place, a melodramatic story of madness and suppressed emotions, set against a backdrop of the Himalayas.
The film is one of the acclaimed Archers productions of director and scriptwriters Michael Powell and Emeric…
I'm going to flat-out adore all of their movies, aren't I?
Somebody needs to take Rob Zombie and Eli Roth and force them to watch this movie on repeat. It’s an almost perfect model for the structure of a horror movie. It’s a little like Die Hard: starts off slow, builds our investment in the characters before really taking the lid off. The first hour feels like an unusually talented studio hack working on a typical picture, but then… For the last half hour my jaw was on the floor. What to praise first? The cinematography is beautiful, sensuous, justified by the story- it’s a great argument for Technicolor. (Also, dynamic use of dissolves. People use dissolves so apologetically these days.) The two central performances are both amazing. The screenplay works on multiple levels, not least of which is a brilliant feminist critique of imperialism: the nunnery in the harem, the exposed breasts on the walls, the uselessness of suppressing carnality, etc.
Ranked 1406 out of 6195 movies on my Flickchart.
Lush expressionistic technicolor at its best, on par with Douglas Sirk. Worth seeing for Deborah Kerr's face alone. I bet when I watch this again next year I will love it even more. It's a gorgeous film with some of the best dissolves I've ever seen, particularly the "I never want to leave this place" moment. Thematically, it's akin to Peter Weir's early work in culture ignorance and displacement. Then it slowly reveals layers of repressed sexuality (almost in a haunted house / possession manner), beautifully captured in the scene involving the lipstick and Bible contrast. Didn't blow me away in the end as much as PEEPING TOM, possibly due to a couple of scenes involving the Kanchi character, but it's further proof that I need to watch everything that Powell and Pressburger have done eventually. If you're a cinephile, this is a must-see immediately. Preferably if it ever plays on the big screen ever again.
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!