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Death of a Nun

Death of a Nun (1975)
Dood van een non
Paul Collet
Pierre Drouot

Paul Collet dialogue
Pierre Drouot dialogue
Maria Rosseels dialogue

Gerrit Visscher producer
André Weis producer
Henri Weis producer

Henny Alma – Moeder
Elizabeth Anderson – Moeder Ancilla
Janine Bischops – Andrea
Antoine Carette – Pastoor (as Antoon Carette)
Roger Coorens – Vader
Josine van Dalsum – Gertrude
Jo De Meyere – Nikki
Rea Dolhain – Jonge Sabine
Jules Hamel – Joris
Elly Koot – Marie-Anne
Jozef Pellens – Daniel
Nellie Rosiers – Sabine Arnauld
Hans Royaards – Simon (as Hans Rooyaards)
Paula Sleyp – Novicenmeesters
Elliot Tiber – Finch
Roos Van Wijk – Kloosterzuster

Review by Sven Soetemans
Belgian cinema with vision ahead of its time,

The title of this Belgian film translates itself as `Death of a Nun’ and takes place in rural Belgium around WWII. It’s about a girl who got crippled by falling out of a tree at young age. She’s stuck in a wheelchair now and she prays to God. Her will to recover and live in complete health, if only for one year, goes so far that she even takes a vow. She swears to God that she will enter a convent and live a sane life serving the Church if He allows her to recover. When the miracle suddenly occurs, she marries and gets pregnant instead of holding on to her vow. God’s wrath (or is it fate?) is merciless and pretty soon her entire family faces misery and dies. Soldiers kill her husband and she gives birth to a dead fetus. When she finally gives in to God’s will and enters the convent, her hatred against God is so deep she can’t properly function as a nun.

Death of a Nun very well may be Belgium’s very first (and only) psychological drama. The structure is quite innovating and – considering the year of release – the screenplay contains many shocking and controversial elements. The religious aspects in the film are perfectly elaborated and at times you even question your own faith. Which is quite an achievement, if you ask me. The acting is overall good; only the leading actress (Nellie Rosiers) is a bit tame. I know her character is supposed to be melancholic, but Rosiers exaggerates in playing the deeply depressed protagonist.

Copies of this film are very rare and I’m thankful it came on Belgian TV, the other night. None of you probably will ever see this film but it feels good to share that Belgium has at least a few good films

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70s Films

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