Anne Fontaine tells a knotty story about the brutality of war that digs into complex matters of faith and morality. In 1945 Poland, just after the end of World War II, French Red Cross doctor Mathilde (Lou de Laâge) comes to assist at a convent where several of the nuns and novitiates have become pregnant after they were invaded by Russian soldiers. The strongest moments are anchored in the interaction between Mathilde, an atheist Communist, and Sister Maria (Agata Buzek), a nun with a more worldly past than many of her peers, as they respectively attempt to comprehend both the atrocities that led to these pregnancies, and the response of the convent’s abbess. In fact, the main hitch in Fontaine’s story may be that Sister Maria could have made a more compelling central protagonist in her crisis of faith, with less of a stacked deck in favor of Mathilde’s secular perspective. But the simple, taut direction finds both the tension and the serenity in the story’s setting, and in the narrative’s commitment to finding sense in horrific events, and entirely from a female point of view.
Director: Anne Fontaine
Producer: Eric Altmayer and Nicolas Altmayer
Cast: Lou de Laâge, Agata Buzek, Agata Kulesza, Vincent Macaigne, Joanna Kulig, Eliza Rycembel, Anna Prochniak, Katarzyna Dabrowska, Helena Sujecka, Dorota Kuduk, Klara Bielawka, Pascal Elso, Thomas Coumans and Joanna Fertacz