Léon Morin, priest

Léon Morin, priest

DVD - 2011 | French | DVD special ed
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In Nazi-occupied France, a devoted priest is desired by all the women of his village, but finds himself most drawn to a religious skeptic who turns their relationship into a confrontation with both God and her own repressed desire.
Publisher: [New York] : The Criterion Collection, c2011
Edition: DVD special ed
ISBN: 9781604654561
Branch Call Number: FRE 791.4372 L5791m
Language Note: In French, with optional subtitles in English
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (117 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in


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Jul 07, 2015

This is a 1961 film directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, based on the 1952 Prix Goncourt-winning novel "The Passionate Heart (French: Léon Morin, prêtre)" by Béatrix Beck.
In a town in the French Alps during the Occupation, Barny is a young, wayward, sexually frustrated widow, living with her little girl.
She is also a communist militant who long ago decided that the easiest way was the best.
One day she enters a church, randomly chooses a priest to confess to and, while in confessional, attempts to provoke him by criticizing Catholicism.
Instead of being affronted, the priest engages her in an intellectual discussion regarding religion.
He invites Barny to continue the conversation outside of confessional.
She begins regularly seeing him and is impressed by his moral strength, while he makes it his mission to steer her onto the right path.
It is like a textbook story, which I cannot believe since there were so many bad and corrupt priests in France. :-)

Apr 12, 2012

Although film director Melville considered Belmondo perfect for the role, I think it was more because he was very popular then. The film had to ride on his fame. Emmanuele Riva, fresh from her Hiroshima Mon Amour success was a definitive plus. Belmondo didn't embody the seriousness of Fr, Morin the film wanted to project except for his appeal where the womenfolk was lusting after. Melville opted to combine the two most successful stars of France at that time in this movie - Belmondo for Breathless and of course, Riva - to make a sure hit which I think the film did. Two noteworthy scenes are those that depicted a caring Nazi soldier and a maniacal American GI....so much to be gleaned from that. A great film!

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