Black NarcissusCLUB 18+81 min
For those whose image of classic British cinema involves stiff upper lips or kitchen sinks, dole queues and endless cups of tea, then prepare to have your expectations upturned by Black Narcissus.
The plot, taken from Rumer Goddens novel, is a melodrama about sexual repression: a handful of Anglican nuns are dispatched to convert a disused seraglio in the Himalayas into a mission and slowly start to fall victim to their passions. And then there is the style; rejecting offers to shoot in India, Powell and Pressburger took over Pinewood studios and kicked dull realism to touch. They also set their crack team loose and told them to experiment: Jack Cardiffs Oscar-winning Technicolor cinematography directly quotes Vermeer, Caravaggio and Van Gogh; Alfred Junges set design (which won a second Oscar) used painted backdrops to create an India of the mind; and Brian Easdales wonderful score makes inventive use of wind machines. Its also beautifully written, directed and acted, with Deborah Kerr giving her finest performance.