Last night I went along to the Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) to see Guillaume Nicloux’s film about a girl in the 18th century who finds herself in a convent and doesn’t want to be there. The film documents her struggles against her family, abusive Mother Superiors and the Church in order to regain control of her life.
The film uses the symbolism of the Christian message in telling the story. It begins in darkness and ends in daylight. It is concerned with sin; the sins of the parents visited on the children. It concerns victimisation and abuse. It is about life, death and resurrection.
The film is, of course, about women and the cast is largely female. It questions the place of women in society in the 18th Century and causes us to reflect on the situation of women in our society today. There are few men in the film but they play crucial roles. The abuses are carried out by women. The men have a more positive role.
It is also a film about the nature of authority and control. In 18th century France the Church, in various forms was Authority. We see examples of the wrong people being put in control and the disastrous results. This led me on to think of the serious problems we are facing today. With the wrong people in control our financial system crashed.
With the wrong people in control we found ourselves fighting wars that should never have been fought. All of this was for ‘good reasons’ that were based on falsehoods. When we lost sight of what we were about we lost our way.
This is a provocative film that puts the audience in an uncomfortable place. I was trembling when I left the cinema and it was not just the cold that caused it. This is a gripping film that puts a spotlight on abuse of women and makes us question attitudes today. The post Saville enquiries that, week by week, reveal celebrity abuse of young women and girls show us that victims were not listened to and their plight was seen as being their place in the pecking order.
Has anything changed? Go and see this film. It will open your eyes to the abuse of women by locking them out of society.