Rivette’s The Nun: Religion between Sadism and Masochism

  • Author(s): Paolo Stellino, Claudio Rozzoni
  • When: 2016-01
  • Where: Journal of Religion & Film
  • The Nun (original title: Suzanne Simonin. La Religieuse de Denis Diderot) is a 1966 French Film directed by Jacques Rivette and based on the homonymous novel written by Denis Diderot, first published in 1796. Following the plot of Diderot’s novel (which echoed the real story of Marguerite Delamarre), the film relates the story of Suzanne, a young woman who is forced by her family to take the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, and become a nun. Actually, the film starts out with Suzanne who, dressed in a wedding gown, refuses to take the vows and causes a public scandal. Back at home, however, Suzanne discovers that she is not a legitimate daughter and that her mother is forcing her to become a nun because she does not want her husband to discover her betrayal. Moreover, Suzanne is told that her family cannot afford her marriage. In a moment of despair, she writes a letter that says that she will take the vows and enter the convent.

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