1945. Mathilde is a French Red Cross doctor working on a mission to help the French survivors of the German camps. While she works in Poland, she is asked for help by a nun. In her convent, several nuns got pregnant.
Poland, winter of 1945. Mathilde Beaulieu (Lou de Lâage) is a young intern working with a branch of the French Red Cross. They are on a mission to find, treat and repatriate French survivors of the German camps. One day, a Polish nun arrives in the hospital. In very poor French, she begs Mathilde to come to her convent. Mathilde life and beliefs change when she discovers the advanced state of pregnancy that affect several of the Sisters of the convent just outside the hospital where she performs.
Director Anne Fontaine went on two retreats in Benedictine communities in preparation for the film, first as an observer and second as a novice. See more »
However much I pray, I cannot find any consolation. Every day, I relive what happened. Every day. I still smell the stench of them. They came back three times. Each time, they... They should have killed us. It's a miracle they didn't.
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I do not believe you will ever come across more offbeat subject matter than that found in "The Innocents". A French Red Cross nurse is asked to help a convent of Polish nuns, most of whom have been raped by Russian troops, and many have become pregnant. She finds she is not welcome by the Mother Superior, who believes it is the will of God - Providence, she says, and that somehow God will resolve their dilemma. Since they are nuns no one may see or touch their bodies as they are handmaidens of The Lord.
The actors are marvelous and convey the prevailing feelings of incomprehension and guilt that permeates the convent. They feel they are to blame for the fate that has befallen them. Although they are pliable the Abbess is not, and here is the crux of the problem; the dichotomy of thought between young and old, modern (as of 1945) and traditional. "The Innocents" is an excellent character study and is ultimately a 'women's picture'. It is filmed in color but feels like a black-and-white picture. So starkly obvious is the solution that I struggled to accept the prevailing sentiments of the nuns, with which I found myself at odds. As such, I found it not as compelling as some other reviewers did.
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