Movies that are slightly off.
After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.
In a perfect world, this is what comic book movies would look like. Powell and Pressburger took every visual trick in the book, it feels like, to craft this. It's not just the colors (which are widely touted) nor the painted backdrops (which feel more real than the best CGI) nor the huge spaces (which convey isolation and expansiveness at once--you feel so small and alone knowing how much of the world there is). It's also the blocking (see how Kanchi relates to the Little General, for instance) and the movement (the birds in their cages, the edges of the mountain making people flinch, the camera adjusting angle in an angular room) and the transitions (fading from Mr. Dean to…
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…
Really didn't expect this movie to remind me of The Shining but I was quite happy that it did.
A magnificent and ravishing film from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger that explores a group of nuns trying to start and run a convent in the Himalayas where things don't go well as it features great work from Deborah Kerr, Sabu, David Farrar, and a mesmerizing performance from Kathleen Byron as Sister Ruth.
The film "Black Narcissus" in an oddity amongst British films of its time. The setting of the film is unusual because of its exotic nature with the exotic cultures in the mix. But what truly makes it an oddity is its story about narcissism amongst Anglican nuns in a foreign land which hints the "Narcissus" in its title. The nature of the story is very unusual for its time even in Britain by the fact that it made nuns seem more human.
The thing of note about black narcissus is how beautiful the film is even by today's standards. That's what you get when you get very talented set designers, costume designers, and cinematographer to bring the setting to life.…
Mr. Dean: 'There's something in the atmosphere here that makes everything seem exaggerated.'
That accounts for the acting. Profoundly beautiful but too melodramatic for me.
Amazing photography and lighting. The colors in so many scenes are beautifully juxtaposed. Some of the matte shots are obvious but I was still very surprised it was shot completely at the studio in England. I didn't really connect with the characters but it was an interesting story and thankfully not overlong. Strong performances.
I came round on The Red Shoes but I'm still trying to find my way in on this film, gorgeous though it looks. The performances are pitched at such a high level of camp that I believe this is a masterpiece without feeling it. Also there's the regrettable whitewashing of Indian roles by white actors (aside from Sabu). Give it another 10 years and I may see the light.
Absolute masterpiece of a film that manages to, in absolute picturesque beauty, show off the beautiful imagery one would imagine seeing at a convent in the Indian mountains. Filled with great dramatic moments that I don't remember too well because I watched it ten years ago, but I still remember the intense thriller elements and astounding imagery.
Won't be at all surprised if, after a couple more viewings, this is my favorite film of all time.
Whoa. It's a lot scarier than I remember.
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
The first 1012 films are from The 1,000 Greatest Films list, and maintain the original order. The films that follow…