MOTHER JOAN OF THE ANGELS (Jerzy Kawalerowicz, 1960)

Think of the gorgeous, austere Matka Joanna od aniolów as the sequel to Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971), with the seventeenth-century historical material transplanted from Loudon, France, to rural, dry, frozen Poland. Father Urbain Grandier has already been burned alive for allowing his manliness to incite the repressed sexuality of nuns at the parish convent; […]

THE MILL & THE CROSS (Lech Majewski, 2011

The Spanish Inquisition: In 1564, Flanders is overrun by Spanish soldiers, atop their horses and wearing savagely “red tunics,” running down, brutalizing, “crucifying” Protestants for being “heretics” as a member of the community, painter Pieter Bruegel, plans and orchestrates outdoors one of his masterpieces, Procession on the Way to Calvary, in which the whipped Jesus […]

WHEN THE CAT COMES (Vojtěch Jasný, 1963)

“Once upon a time, it should have happened.” An anti-Nazi resistance fighter and disillusioned Communist, Vojtěch Jasný was, according to Milos Forman, the spiritual father of the Czech New Wave; indeed, his Až přijde kocour is a harbinger of that movement, one of whose greatest works is Jasný’s Všichni dobří rodáci (1968). Až přijde kocour—in […]