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  • Mother Joan Of The Angels [DVD] [1962]
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Mother Joan Of The Angels [DVD] [1962]

6 customer reviews

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  • Actors: Lucyna Winnicka, Mieczyslaw Voit, Anna Ciepielewska, Maria Chwalibóg, Kazimierz Fabisiak
  • Directors: Jerzy Kawalerowicz
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Latin, Polish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Second Run
  • DVD Release Date: 8 Aug. 2005
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A16HUG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 95,899 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Jury Prize winner 1961 Cannes Film Festival

One of the landmarks of Polish cinema, this film is based on the documented story of the ‘possession’ of a group of nuns that led to the burning of a priest at the stake in Loudun, France in 1634. (This episode also served as the historical basis for Aldous Huxley's novel The Devils of Loudun, subsequently adapted for the screen by Ken Russell in The Devils). Available for the first time ever on DVD, Mother Joan of the Angels is a spare, visually rigorous, and profoundly disturbing exploration of faith, repression, fanaticism, and eros.

"Mother Joan of the Angels is a film against dogma …… It is a love story about a man and a woman who wear church clothes, and whose religion does not allow them to love each other…… The devils that possess these characters are the external manifestations of their repressed love." - Jerzy Kawalerowicz

From the Contributor

Visually this film is a masterpiece. Spooky and haunting it is an exemplar of how, in filmmaking, less can be so much more.

Having received the Jury Prize at the 1961 Cannes Film Festival, "Mother Joan of the Angels" does not fall into that category of ‘lost’ films. However, it is certainly a film that deserves a much better reputation and a wider viewing public. Yes, it does contain exorcism, flagellation and murder but it is the opposite of "The Devils" Ken Russell’s overblown (though wonderful) take on the same story . "Mother Joan" is a quieter, more subdued film and all the more effective for that. Any fan of classics of the strange such as "Nosferatu" and "Witchfinder General" should find much to enjoy in "Mother Joan of the Angels".

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A. S. Potts on 9 Jun. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Well, it's finally here, having been lost in the black hole of my local sorting office for nearly two weeks. I'd been chomping at the bit for this one to arrive because I'd just watched Night Train from the Polish Cinema Classics box set and was highly impressed. Previously, and without any knowledge of the directors work I'd been attracted to the subject matter of Mother Joan of the Angels but was put off by the well known poor quality of the source material of Second Run's original 2005 release.

So, the first thing to say is how very impressive is the quality of this new restoration. Michael Brooke is right to point out in a comment to one of the other reviews that it, and indeed all three reviews, refer to the previous release and not to the restoration. I'm surprised to find that I'm the first to comment on this excellent new package.

To start in reverse order, as it were, and because I've already mentioned MichaelB I will point out the exceptionally good booklet and his forensically researched and apparently effortlessly concise biography of the directors life and works. Full marks, sir! Equally distinguished is Dr Sorfa's analysis of the Loudun source material and the other artistic works it has inspired.

Next comes MichaelB's appreciation, a 21 minute video, liberally illustrated with film clips. This kind of appetite wetter has always appealed to me as a warm up act to the main event, but this one carries a 'spoiler warning' because it reveals many key scenes. Such concerns have never bothered me since a detailed understanding or knowledge of the content of a film has never diminished my experience of seeing a film itself.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By B. Alcat on 7 Mar. 2008
Format: DVD
"Mother Joan of the Angels" (= "Matka Jonna od Aniolow") is a strange 1961 film directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz, that manages to show the way in which faith, superstition and fanaticism can mix.

The story that this film tells is set in 17th century Poland, and it is, to say the least, unusual. The main character is Father Suryn (Mieczyslaw Voit), a priest that arrives to a convent in order to exorcise a group of nuns possessed by the demon. Their leader is the abbess, Mother Joan (Lucyna Winnicka), a beautiful young woman that seems to embrace the choice of being possessed by the demon, given that she is aware that she cannot be a saint, and would rather be damned than like everybody else. Father Suryn begins to care too much for her, having his faith tested while he strives to save the nuns and not lose his soul in the process.

Even though this film is loosely based on real facts, I think that its real power comes from the subjective way in which the director chose to tell it. When you finish watching this powerful movie, you don't know whether you liked it or not, but you are sure that "Mother Joan of the Angels" is an enduring work of art worth-seeing. Recommended...

Belen Alcat
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By HJ on 10 Mar. 2007
Format: DVD
An inexperienced priest is sent in to perform an exorcism on the mother superior - with violent & tragic results.

Another long neglected cult classic of Eastern European cinema resurrected by the excellent Second Run DVD label. The story is based on the Loudon case which has fascinated many writers, artists & film makers, notably Ken Russell's infamous 1970s movie The Devils. Mother Joan, being a Polish film from 1960, is rather less lurid than The Devils but may have influenced Russell and possibly Friedkin's Exorcist too. However it should be stressed that, although still shocking and disturbing, Mother Joan is a very austere black & white art-house film & the best comparison would be with Bergman's medievalist epics such as Seventh Seal & Virgin Spring. Cinematically Mother Joan is a great film, beautifully shot & acted, but I'm not sure how seriously to take it - while not exactly "nunsploitation" it teeters on the edge of kitsch - if you are a fan of mad nun movies, from Back Narcissus on, you should check this out! The director claimed it was an allegory of sexual repression (ie Freudian & anti-Catholic) but you can't help but wonder whether it is also an allegory of Polish communism. The DVD includes booklet with informative essay & carries apologies for the very grainy film print but that didn't bother me - just added to the grainy medieval ambience!
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