January 12, 2015

The sound of church bells

Mother Joan of the Angels (Jerzy Kawalerowicz, 1961). Starker and more cerebral than Ken Russell’s The Devils, to which it could be an unofficial sequel, but made a decade earlier. Don’t look for Poland-under-communism metaphors either. Long exorcism scenes are the centrepiece, and some of the possession actions suggest that William Friedkin was paying attention – but again, so much less lurid. At its heart, there are theological questions – how does love find expression when it’s suppressed or thwarted?