Sunday, December 9, 2012

Black Narcissus

Black Narcissus is a film that grew on me after the first viewing. Initially, as others have posted, the pacing was a bit offsetting. This slower pacing, though, really made the climax of the film much more intense, even though an ultimate letdown. We are slowly given glimpses into the deterioration of these Sisters’ minds and morale. The most important I believe is that of Sister Clodagh’s past love and its similarities to Sister Ruth’s actions. Our book talks a lot about how films have a certain ABAB structure (or something similar) to them, and how this helps drive a story along. We are given numerous flashbacks that reveal Sister Clodagh’s desires of love prior to joining the convant, which further amplifies this sexual desire being brought back to the surface by Mr. Dean. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise, then, that Sister Ruth unleashes this pent-up passion at the end of the film. Although the structure plays towards more of Sister Clodagh’s desires of love, it becomes embodied radically in Sister Ruth. This mode of revealing sexuality through Sister Ruth is what ircked me about the film. It seems that nothing was learned from her passionate outburst. Sister Clodagh could have had some sort of revelation from seeing Sister Ruth’s extreme desire for male companionship and utilized it to have a nice relationship with Mr. Dean that was like the one she desired prior to the convent. Instead she leaves without any self-reflection. Perhaps this has some deeper signifigance than I can see, but it would have been a nice way to round off the structure of the film to have Sister Clodagh be a chaste form of love, one that Sister Ruth let get out of control.

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