Black Narcissus

Black Narcissus
CLUB 18+81 min

Director: Michael Powell Director: Emric Pressburger Starring:Deborah Kerr, David Farrar, Flora Robson Released:Sun 26 Nov 2023


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 Godden’s 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 Cardiff’s Oscar-winning Technicolor cinematography directly quotes Vermeer, Caravaggio and Van Gogh; Alfred Junge’s set design (which won a second Oscar) used painted backdrops to create an India of the mind; and Brian Easdale’s wonderful score makes inventive use of wind machines. It’s also beautifully written, directed and acted, with Deborah Kerr giving her finest performance.

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