Matheus Carvalho, Brazilian cinephile in London. Love pre-1970s world cinema, old Hollywood and celluloid film projection.
“The Sound of Music” showed that the horny nun subgenre could be wrapped into a wholesome package and commercialised to family audiences. But if you are a creature of cinema, this is the real deal - this is Val Lewton’s LSD Technicolor dream come true if he ever had access to that kind of money. Lurid and delirious, watch as repressed desire, the jungle drums, the weight of colonialist guilt and David Farrar’s hairy chest make poor unsuspecting nuns fall from vertiginous heights into deadly matte paintings to meet their untimely fate.
Screened at the BFI from a lush dye-transfer Technicolor print dripping with sensualité.
Quentin Tarantino indirectly led me to this film - the programme for the 70mm roadshow presentation of "The Hateful Eight" proclaimed it was the first film since "Khartoum" to be shot in UltraPanavision. Timing was also on my side as this was made available on Netflix the very same week. And then to my surprise the same timing also played an ironic and much less amusing trick: one of the very first scenes in the film depicts the fanatic Islamic…
Lubistch acts here as a Melies-type figure in a very Melies-like movie, opening his own film by literally opening a magic box of tricks. And the film is indeed filled with the possibilities of this newest and most wondrous magic trick of all: "the cinema". The film does indeed make ingenuous use of this brand new toolbox, including double exposure to depict fantastical scenes, masking to suggest sound and cutting as a tool to create a comical gag involving the…