By Etienne Tripelon
22 January, 2017
In Poland, during one cold and snowy winter in 1975, nuns pray and sing in an isolated convent while one of them is yelling to death. Being unable to bear it, a nun disobeys the Mother Superior and leaves to seek help outside. At the French Red Cross, she meets Mathilde, a medical student who is also an atheist. She refuses to assist at first, but changes her mind and follows her. What she discovers then goes beyond her understanding: a nun is about to give birth and the rest is not long in coming. Despite the reluctance of the Mother Superior, Mathilde continues to help them and in doing so, discovers their terrible secret and puts her own life in danger.
Following Gemma Bovary and Perfect Mothers, Anne Fontaine, an eclectic but always talented film director, directs for the first time a historical drama inspired by a story that is just as true as tragic. Mathilde, beautifully interpreted by Lou de Laâge, who following her teen roles (Breathe) and/or supporting roles (Jappeloup), finally gets the best out of her talents, is confronted with a world that she neither knows nor understands. Driven by an unwavering humanism, she will do anything to help the nuns even against their will. In her task, she can rely on Samuel, a Jewish doctor, a clumsy and a bashful lover, played by Vincent Macaigne who has already been featured in this column and whom we are very happy to find in a more conventional film. The Innocents, served by a modest and intelligent mise-en-scene as well as very beautiful photography, is a film of great sensitivity that unveils an unknown part of the history.
DIRECTED: By Anne Fontaine
STARRING: Lou de Laâge, Vincent Macaigne, Agata Buzek
GENRE: French-Polish historical drama
DVD RELEASE: June 21, 2016