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Home The Innocents Opens In Theaters July 1st

The Innocents Opens In Theaters July 1st

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The Innocents will open on July 1, 2016 at The Landmark in West L.A. and July 8, 2016 at Laemmle’s Town Center 5 in Encino,  Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 in Pasadena and Edwards Westpark 8 in Orange County.

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Warsaw, December 1945: the second World War is finally over and French Red Cross doctor Mathilde (Lou de Laage) is treating the last of theFrench survivors of the German camps. When a panicked Benedictine nun appears at the clinic begging Mathilde to follow her back to the convent, what she finds there is shocking: a holy sister about to give birth and several more in advanced stages of pregnancy.

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A non-believer, Mathilde enters the sisters’ fiercely private world, dictated by the rituals of their order and the strict Rev. Mother (Agata Kulesza, Ida). Fearing the shame of exposure, the hostility of the occupying Soviet troops and local Polish communists and while facing an unprecedented crisis of faith, the nuns increasingly turn to Mathilde as their beliefs and traditions clash with harsh realities.  Director Anne Fontaine brings  a horrific yet hopeful film to audiences a she skillfully reveals the harsh realities of the nuns as they attempt to grapple the dire consequences of war filled with abuse. with haunting shots and superb performance by all this film will you with many emotions.

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 As Mathilde(Lou de Laage) navigates this precarious landscape she develops a profound respect for the nuns commitment to their fate even as it clashes with her own( or lack of). Yet the nuns come to appreciate the subterfuge applied by Mathlide to keep another group of Russian away from the convent. Shot in monotone flat colors to reflect the mood of the convent and the severity of the situation, The Innocents will settle under your skin and make you keenly aware of the landscape of humanity’s limitations for compassion towards each other.

If you want an intelligent, thoughtful, provocative, scary film that touches your soul then The Innocents is the film to put on your Summer watch list.

Les Innocents is inspired from a little-known true event that occurred in Poland in 1945.

The story of these nuns is incredible. According to the notes taken by Madeleine Pauliac, the Red Cross doctor who inspired the film, 25 of them were raped in their convent – as much as 40 times in a row for some of them – 20 were killed and 5 had to face pregnancy. This historical fact doesn’t reflect well on the Soviet soldiers, but it’s the truth; a truth that authorities refuses to divulge, even if several historians are aware of the events. These soldiers didn’t feel they were committing a reprehensible act: they were authorized to do so by their superiors as a reward for their efforts. This type of brutality is unfortunately still widely practiced today. Women continue to be subjected to this inhumanity in warring countries around the world. 

Below is an excerpt of an interview with Director Anne Fontaine:

 

Q -What was your initial reaction when the producers, the Altmayer brothers, came to you with this project?
Anne-I was immediately taken with the story. Without really understanding why, moreover, I knew that I had a very personal connection with it. Motherhood and self-questioning with regard to faith were themes I wanted to explore. I wanted to get as close as possible to what would have been happening within these women, to depict the indescribable. Spirituality had to be at the heart of the film.

Q-Are you familiar with matters of religion?

Anne-I come from a Catholic family – two of my aunts were nuns – so I have a few connections in regards to the subject. But I can only work on a theme if I know it perfectly well and I wanted to experience what life in a convent was like from the inside. I felt it was important to learn about a nun’s daily routine, understand the rhythm of her days. I went on two retreats in Benedictine communities – the same order as the one in the film. I was only there as an observer during the first retreat, but I truly experienced the life of a novice in the second.

Q-Tell us more about it.

Anne-Beyond life in a community, which impressed me a great deal – this way of being together, praying and singing seven times a day – it’s also as if you were in a world where time is suspended. You have the feeling of floating in a type of euphoria and yet you are bound by a very strong discipline. I saw how human relationships were established: the tension and shifting psychology of each person. It’s not a frozen, one dimensional world. But what touched me the most, and what I attempted to convey in the film, is how fragile faith is. We often believe that faith cements those who are driven by it. That’s an error: as Maria confides to Mathilde in the film, it is, much to the contrary, “twenty- four hours of doubt for one minute of hope.” This notion sums up my impressions after speaking with the sisters, and also after attending a conference about questioning one’s faith given by Jean- Pierre Longeat, the former Abbot of Saint-Martin de Ligugé Abbey. What he said was extremely moving and has a profound echo within today’s secular world. 

Q-What was your initial reaction when the producers, the Altmayer brothers, came to you with this project?
Anne-I was immediately taken with the story. Without really understanding why, moreover, I knew that I had a very personal connection with it. Motherhood and self-questioning with regard to faith were themes I wanted to explore. I wanted to get as close as possible to what would have been happening within these women, to depict the indescribable. Spirituality had to be at the heart of the film.

Q-Are you familiar with matters of religion?

Anne-I come from a Catholic family – two of my aunts were nuns – so I have a few connections in regards to the subject. But I can only work on a theme if I know it perfectly well and I wanted to experience what life in a convent was like from the inside. I felt it was important to learn about a nun’s daily routine, understand the rhythm of her days. I went on two retreats in Benedictine communities – the same order as the one in the film. I was only there as an observer during the first retreat, but I truly experienced the life of a novice in the second.

 

 

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