13 January 2007 | Falconeer
Convent erotica from Walerian Borowczyk
A stern Mother Superior tries to maintain order in the convent, and to protect the nuns from evil temptation in this beautifully wrought 'nunsploitation' film from cult director Walerian Borowczyk. While the plot here is standard fare, it is the breathtaking imagery that takes center stage, and makes this film so special. One of the most 'fluid' films I have ever seen, the characters and the images are constantly moving, an effect helped to some degree by the hand-held camera technique. White is the predominant color here, as sunlight streams through the windows of the convent, illuminating the naturally beautiful nuns as they go about their days, gathering roses, preparing food, masturbating and copulating (!). All this while the mother superior races around, spying and searching the bed chambers of the nuns, forever looking for evidence of sin. Religious imagery abounds, in the form of bleeding stigmata and a dildo with the face of Jesus etched onto it. Light and comical at times, but turning considerably darker towards the films climax. The cinematographer also worked on Argento's 'Suspiria', which explains this films gorgeous look. It would certainly be a shame and do great injustice to Borowczyk's beautiful film to place it in the same category as the 'nusploit' dreck of Joe D'Amato and some of the others, as 'Interno di un Convento' is on another level entirely. This is my favorite film from Borowczyk next to his "La Marge" with Sylvia Kristel and Joe Dallesandro. And of the 'nunsploit genre, 'Behind Convent Walls' is one of the absolute finest examples, along with "The Nuns of Verona", "Sacrilege", and the dazzling Japanese "Convent of the Holy Beast". I have yet to see Jess Franco's "Love Letters of A Portuguese Nun", but I heard this is quite good as well. For Behind Convent Walls' there is a great new DVD featuring a beautiful widescreen transfer, and including extra information on Borowczyk's work.