The Innocents

A new review from The Movie Snob.

The Innocents  (A-).  This French-Polish co-production, which is based on true events, packs a powerful punch.  It’s December 1945.  A young nun sneaks out of a little Catholic convent in the Polish countryside and hurries to the nearest town, desperately seeking a doctor–and one, she insists, who is neither Polish nor Russian.  Against all odds, she finds a young French doctor named Mathilde who is willing to leave her Red Cross station and visit the convent.  Mathilde is shocked at what she finds there: seven pregnant nuns.  When the Soviet Army “liberated” Poland several months earlier, the marauding soldiers invaded the convent and raped the nuns.  Now, the nuns who conceived are reaching full term.  And no one outside the convent can know, or else the the convent will be shuttered and the women shunned in society as disgraced.  It’s a horrible situation, and still more horrible things happen as Mathilde tries to help the nuns in their hour of crisis.  There are a few happy moments, and Mathilde strikes up an unlikely friendship with Maria, the second-in-command at the convent, but the movie is largely bleak and upsetting.  Still, I found it a compelling cinematic experience.  But please do exercise discretion in deciding whether to see this movie, especially if scenes depicting sexual assault are triggering for you.

If you like this movie, I encourage you to look up Ida, a Polish movie from a couple of years ago, focusing on a single Polish nun discovering some family secrets going back to WWII.  Also, A Woman in Berlin, another based-on-a-true-story movie, about the fall of Berlin at the end of WWII and the fate of the ordinary Germans who lived there when the Soviets arrived.

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One comment on “The Innocents

  1. […] so I guess it belongs in this category too.  But the best foreign-language movie I saw in 2016 was The Innocents.  Based on a true story, this movie is set in post-WWII Poland and depicts a French doctor’s […]

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