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Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Black Narcissus

Last night, I watched an excellent film, Black Narcisus (1947), directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, which I bought on DVD on a whim at a supermarket here in Korea for about $4.00. I bought it mainly because of the cover, which depicted a nun, and because I vaguely remembered hearing about the film.

It was the story of five Anglican nuns and their failed attempt to establish a convent in the Himilayas. The movie was surprisingly modern in feel and had striking color. The sets were amazing as was the cast of characters, major and minor, English and Indian.

There is a lot of foreshadowing in the first few minutes of the film. We learn that the Order of the Servants of Mary, to which the nuns belong, take yearly, not lifetime, vows. We learn that Sister Clodagh, the protagonist chosen to lead the new nunnery, is to be the youngest Mother Superior of her order. We are also given key information about the particular strengths, and more importantly the weaknesses, of the other four nuns.

There is an interesting exchange at one point in the film. After a Christmas Eve midnight service, the "Young General," and eager Indian noble, congratulates Sister Clodagh on the birth of Christ. He goes on to say that he is very interested in Jesus Christ. Sister Clodagh laughs and the "Young General" asks if he said something wrong. The Sister says, "No, we're just not used to speaking of Him in such a casual way."

An answer most Anglican!