The Sinner (1940)

  |  Drama

The Sinner (1940) Poster

Brutalized by urban life, a woman who has sinned returns to her mother's home in the countryside.


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15 January 2021 | lchadbou-326-26592
| A Fallen Woman Melodrama That Deserves To Be More Well Known
Praised at the time of its first viewings by Michelangelo Antonioni, La Peccatrice is a worthy example of the melodrama of a fallen woman, whose repeated obstacles to find a footing in a world dominated by untrustworthy men are related in an episode format. The summit of such a genre was likely The Life of Oharu by the Japanese auteur Kenji Mizoguchi, this film doesn't come anywhere near that sublime achievement but deserves to be more well known.It was made during Italy's repressive Fascist period but seems to get away with some social criticism by framing the narrative in terms of the ultimate upholding of conservative values such as The Mother (who the woman at first leaves in shame but later returns to) and The Countryside (peasants singing in the field show us a vision of happiness we don't see in the city-set sections of the story) .And the bordello that the woman lands up working in is made clear by enough suggestions and references in the dialogue that it doesn't need to be spelled out further, to risk censorship, a tactic that Hollywood films of the Production Code era would also navigate. The standout sequence, toward the end, is set in a restaurant where the woman re-encounters the man, a bourgeois intellectual, whose abandonment of her first set her on the sad trajectory.It is a gem of understatement and for at least these few minutes director Amleto Palermi stakes out a claim for cinema immortality.

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