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Black Narcissus (PG)

Black Narcissus (PG)

★★★★★ Run, don't walk to see this 1947 classic from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Seeing it digitally restored on the big screen brings a sugar-rush of pleasure. It's an extraordinary melodrama of repressed love and Forsterian Englishness - or rather Irishness - coming unglued in the vertiginous landscape of South Asia. ~ The Guardian.


Shot entirely in Pinewood (almost), hysteria and Empire thematically collide when Sister Clodagh establishes a convent in the Himalayas.

The local agent seems unhelpful and Sister Ruth (an electric performance from Kathleen Byron) is a cause for concern.  


★★★★★ This digitally restored print allow us to luxuriate in Black Narcissus's sensual riches, and particularly the way the filmmakers and their Oscar-winning cinematographer Jack Cardiff use colour to convey states of mind (no wonder that Scorsese is such a fan of Powell's work). ~ BBC.

★★★★★ Winner of Oscars for art direction and cinematography, this adaptation of Rumer Godden's simmering novel is one of the most striking examples of studio-controlled artifice in film history. ~ Radio Times.

★★★★★ The inarguable star of this still disturbing Powell and Pressburger chiller is Kathleen Byron as Sister Ruth, the flighty nun whose disruptive presence in a Himalayan convent school is slowly transmuted into an erotic obsession with the local topless himbo Mr Dean (David Farrar, forever clutching phallic substitutes including rifles and pipes). ~ The Times.

★★★★★ Sexual tension hangs in the air as the wind blows and native drums beat, but it's on a visual level that the film excels. ~ Empire.

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