Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Don't Deliver Us From Evil|
Actors: Jeanne Goupil, Catherine Wagener, Bernard Dhéran, Gérard Darrieu, Marc Dudicourt
Director: Joël Séria
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Two young convent girls become friends and decide to spend the summer together. However, their innocent bicycle rides and walks in the country soon develop a much more sinister side. Influenced by their reading of forbidd... more »
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Interesting film... Hard to imagine that this was actually b
dooby | 04/18/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is an interesting French film from 1970. Publicists repeatedly emphasise how it was banned by the supposedly worldly French upon its release but if you expect copious helpings of nudity, sex or gore, you'd be sorely dissappointed. It wasn't banned for any of those reasons. You'd expect the French to be above banning nudity and sex and you'd be right. No, it was in fact banned for blashphemy, specifically in its portrayal of the Church and of religion in general. This was at a time when the Church still had a strong (but already declining) influence in France. There is some nudity - two instances of bared breasts and a glimpse of pubic hair, but that's about all. What incensed the Church was the portrayal of its congregation as mindless sheep, of its priests having less than pure thoughts, of lascivious nuns sneaking behind locked doors to kiss each other and the idea of young convent girls performing Satanic rituals and pledging themselves to the Devil.
In the accompanying interview, writer and director, Joel Seria acknowledges that his film is inspired by the 1950s New Zealand murder case which was later immortalised in the movie "Heavenly Creatures" but his film is not actually based on it. In the New Zealand case, the romantically entwined girls plot to murder the mother who tries to separate them. Here they do nothing of the sort because their parents are oblivious and probably couldn't care less if they were attracted to each other. The girls do share a very close bond but the bond is not just sexual attraction to each other. Seria in the interview goes so far as to deny a lesbian link between the two, arguing that the film is more about one girl dominating and slowly corrupting her friend. Essentially they are bored and they feel like outsiders. They retreat into a private world of passionate and increasingly dark and macabre poetry. Seria has indulged his love for torrid French poetry by having the girls quote liberally from them. Throughout we see and hear them reading exerpts from Lautreamont and and Baudelaire. The "naughty" books they surreptitiously read are Baudelaire's "Les Fleurs du Mal" (The Flowers of Evil) and Lautreamont's "Les Chants de Maldoror" (The Songs of Maldoror - about as suitable for children as de Sade). I loved the final sequence which takes place at the school's talent-night. The two girls recite reams of poetry in ever more frenzied tempo until they seem to be in a trance, ending with Baudelaire's "Les Morts des Amants (Death of the Lovers), and the final verses of "Le Voyage" (about death and the journey to the next world), before dramatically immolating themselves in front of the initially unsuspecting, cheering and then slowly horrified audience.
Were they Satanists? Were they truly evil? No. More like bored teenagers experimenting. Amoral perhaps. The death that they cause is obviously accidental and their suicides the result of the knowledge that the police were on to them as well as their fear of being separated and sent to prison. All in all, a sad comment on empty lives and bankrupt morality.
The acting is surprisingly good. The actresses who play the girls, Jeanne Goupil and Catherine Wagener look very convincing as 14-year-olds, so much so that Joel Seria has to emphasize for the sake of American audiences that they were of legal age at the time. In fact the posters and cover-art on the DVD bear no resemblance to the girls at all. The art-work has them looking like old witches when they actually appear very young and angelic in the film. Seria also goes on record to state that none of the birds - the budgies and the canaries, were harmed in the making of the film although what is shown looks disturbingly real.
Although the film is unrated, it would probably merit an R rating at most.
Mondo Macabre has given the film a pretty good transfer considering its vintage. There are just a few instances of dirt, colors are still strong, black levels are accurately set and the picture is generally pleasing to the eye although a tad soft. It is presented in its original 1.66:1 widescreen, pillarboxed into an anamorphic 16x9 frame. The original French 2.0 Stereo track is provided with optional English subtitles. Worth getting. Not something you get to see too often these days."
Good Sacreligious Fun
directions | Space Time Foam | 04/12/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Don't Deliver Us from Evil" (I kind of preferred its original title, "But Do Not Deliver Us From Evil") starts off seemingly as a 70's Euro-sexploitation film but grows darker and darker. Yes it is based on the same true story as Heavenly Creatures but Heavenly Creatures is a superior movie. That said, "Don't Deliver Us From Evil" obviously influenced Catherine Breillet as well as other film makers. Don't Deliver Us from Evil was banned in France for a long time due to being sacreligioius and only now has been reissued on dvd. Obviously strict Catholics will find offense in this film (but some of this crowd find Harry Potter to be promoting witchcraft so maybe there tolerance level is a bit too low) but people who enjoy genuinely disturbing fun will find this film to be a guilty pleasure (the only thing that offended me was the real animal cruelty). Fans of literature such as Story of the Eye or the artwork of Henry Darger will be this to be a most engaging cinematic experience. This would make a fine double feature with Pretty Persuasion (okay you've been warned)."
Charlie Spivey | Richmond VA. U.S.A. | 09/02/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This was something that was definately different. It was supposed to be based on an actual incident in Australia. It is probably more suitable for a rental rather than purchase, but it is rewatchable after a period of time has elapsed. These two girls were definately not your average "girls next door". The transfer was good and of good quality. Over all, I was unsure of this, but it turned out to be a good watch. Whatver nudity is in it, is somewhat muted and brief. There will be some that will probably be disappointed because of that, but the director, did what he needed to do to get the point across without going to unnecessary extremes. If you want something that is offbeat, than this is the film. Charlie S."
Very interesting.....not for the judgmental
Lois Epstein | syracuse, new york United States | 06/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was a bit kinky, but nothing outrageous. It was an interesting film about 2 teen age girls who are best friends and who go to a private Catholic school and get involved in "black arts". They act out many of their fantasies which have the expected results for the audience, although the naive girls seemed to be somewhat surprised at them. The ending is amazing and totally unexpected. This is a film worth seeing, although not for prudes or the overly judgmental."