All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1187. 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.
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…
Just like they managed with their movie The Red Shoes, directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger make Black Narcissus look ahead of its time, and not solely through the use of technicolour. Then they introduce a bunch of interesting things: a group of nuns that are send to a remote and almost uninhabitable location to start a convent, a holy man praying day and night at the site without ever seeming to move an inch, a rich general’s son who comes to join the school for women and children, and a seventeen year old orphan girl that gets a place within the convent as well — unfortunately, my favourite story arc (the one in which aforementioned orphan girl seduces the…
This movie is gorgeous, dated yet endearing, and intriguing from beginning to end. I loved Deborah Kerr and Kathleen Byron (they looked really, really pretty as nuns). In fact, all the actresses, even at their silliest, were excellent. For 1947, the quality of the film is stellar.
Black Narcissus is about control. Control of culture, control of peoples, control of an environment, control of history, and, most vitally, control of desires. A quintet of nuns move into an old palace tucked away in the vast expanses of the Himalayas and attempt to remodel it into a school/convent for the locals.
As the nuns remodel the palace into a convent, they narcissistically look down upon the locals - remarking on their smell and inability to speak or understand English (imagine that, a country that doesn't revolve around learning your language?). As the film progresses, it becomes clear that the suffocating walls of the palace - ironically originally a brothel - have begun to reveal cracks in their…
first impressions:felt like a dream where you dream about eating food and the taste you taste is what you remember of its taste, i enjoyed it as a testament to the rococo implications of cinematic form - ten to one you'll never be able to point your finger and say "these are the thematic/textual concerns." whatever goes on for the first half of so gets re-conceptualized into a radically opposite formal ecosystem that retains no vestiges whatsoever of the smells and textures of original narrative stratagems - it's a very frightening movie in that sense. also entertained the theory that the palace was supposed to symbolize the idea of exoticism, a madcap exoticism with porous boundaries, the beginning of lunacy/mental illness. technicolor raindrops breaking on technicolor greenest leaves finale registers as one of the most unsettling endings ever.
prairie madness and compelling, dangerous sentimentality. shocking: nuns are also humans; faith shakens in haunting, beautiful cinematography.
After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.
I've seen this once before, and due to it's reputation was a little underwhelmed. I liked it more this time around, but I still can't get onboard it's status as a classic. It looks fantastic, possibly the best looking film ever made at that point. It does get a little creepy but more so a bit unintentionally humorous.
It's worth watching to appreciate it's place in cinema history.
Dark psycho-drama, and one that feels both ahead of it's time and also timeless. Black Narcissus is a gorgeously helmed film tackling the darkest of desires and the torment birthed from surpression and regret which boils to an electrifying horror-oriented finale.
A convent sends four of their nuns to a remote palace in the Himalayas to create a school and sacturary for the locals to teach them English ways and Christian values towards the end of the British Empire. However once there, the sisters struggle with different parts of themselves that begin to resurface or find root within the area.
Sister Clodagh, the main Nun in charge of the operation, ends up being reminded of a life before she joined…
"All wind and no sex make Nuns something something..."
"Don't mind. If I DO!"
The west very much so meets the east, resulting in an examination of the mutations that have taken place in seeking the spiritual with western progress. By the very same means we have lost exactly that contact with nature and are no longer a part of it. Attempts at reverting back to our roots, quite clearly, leads to farce more often than not. As we leave the elemental palaces, that so sincerely pay homage to humanity, we realize that there is a unbridgeable gap. You can only stay if you ignore it or let yourself be taken over by it, become one with it. Humanity can indeed seem so artificial.
PowPress returns with a friendly reminder of why they in…
I very much enjoyed watching this film, but there is not much to it.
It's beautiful and very well put together, but all the enjoyable aspects of it are skin-deep. The broad humor and thinly veiled eroticism fall flat for me. The story has barely any human consequence beyond the contrived plot points.
You can easily see the imprint that this film left on David Lynch.
We saw a 35mm print. It was rough in places, but mostly fine.
I have come to acknowledge and accept my mental illness for some time now. For the most part I have…
Those below are not available on the site (from what I can tell).
24 Frames Per Century
Black Something (Zellners)…