Love Letters Of A Portuguese Nun (DVD)

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Love Letters Of A Portuguese Nun (DVD)

A young girl, Maria, is caught in with her lover by a priest who then persuades her parents to send her to the nunnery at Serreda Iris. Once here, Mar...

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Review of "Love Letters Of A Portuguese Nun (DVD)"

published 18/07/2017 | 1st2thebar
Member since : 11/05/2005
Reviews : 755
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About me :
Pro Directorship - location and layers
Cons Not a well known movie
Did you enjoy it?
Characters / Performances
Special Effects

"Dodgy Berger"

Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun was made in 1975, cleared censorship in 1977.

Director: Jess Franco
Genre: Erotic / Gothic
Featuring an adolescent Susan Hemingway, William Berger and Herbert Fux
Available to watch on 'You Tube.'

Plot: A fifteen year old girl named Maria (Hemingway) is subjected to divine-orientated torture by a Priest, played by (Berger), who spotted her having an innocent dalliance. In a bid to rescue her from evil, she enters the Serra D'Aires convent - and there she naively experiences at every turn a punishment, and quickly denotes, repenting is superfluous under the umbrella of satanic prophecy.

- - -

The idea of forbidden fruit activates the animalistic in the adolescent, this is what happens when innocence runs in the woods and jovially giggles... "you'll have to catch me first..." to a young man, bedazzled and drunken with concupiscence. This is the start of 'Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun' - hormonal teenagers mesmerised by the pool of temptation. Jess Franco by this point had made his name with 'Necronomicon: Dreamt Sins' -- (1968); gravitated to the Marcel Proust theorems that the journey of revelation isn't merely about experiencing new landscapes, alas, comprehending the result of one's action (s); Franco's directorship takes the theory to heart. Such imaginative freedom is a joy beyond any measure and never fades... for it blossoms the soul magnificently. Overtly, this epitomises Jess Franco's directorship, even the horror is tongue in cheek, fanciful and subjugation is artistic charm. I observed with admiration.

Franco's prolific film making on erotic / gothic themes, effectively overshadowed his immense scholarly layering, there's far more content materialialising on the perimeter of the films than originally suggested; plus, worth paying attention to adorations, they're not as you think; furthermore, his influences are altogether; nebulous, partly of the premise... concentration is thunderously on the subject of intense sexualisation, and in this case, nunsploitation. I suspect Franco's dexterity to manipulate the voyeur away from intense prose was intentional, simply because watching sybaritic human relations, hand clapping indoctrination and penetrable perversity is a greater distraction and doesn't every film-goer warrant a bit of what they fancy - indeed, Franco's deviltry is the seductress here, for his success chiseled out silver screen perpetuity. Infatuations frollock with our psyche, the masterly creation circulates several matters: mood, style and lastly, very few can add... bizarre, at credible levels. 'Love Letters...' beguiles me, and that's bizarre after four decades.

As a lover of letters, especially ones which offer guidance and prescribes solitude, Franco's title here isn't a conundrum, in fact the main observation is the film is set in 1669 an era when King Alfonso had a French wife; alas, the congenial agreement was laced with mystery; at the same epoch a handful of letters were discovered; penned by a Portuguese nun, Mariana Alcoforado - her love was scorned by a French army officer; hence, she assigned herself to a convent in Beja... her fate sealed. Franco's title is a scholarly message to the literary establishment that translation (s) however doesn't prove Mariana wrote the letters, they had the eloquent charm of a well educated French diplomat Gabriel Joseph de Lavergne, vicomte de Guilleragues, not works of a plebeian. Why of course in the movie no letters were written - apart from a letter to God from a desperate Maria, thrown out of a window and discovered in furze by a King's knight. The historical wisdom behind 'Lost Letters of a Portuguese Nun' stipulated a historical full stop... 'witches' weren't burn't at the stake due to the fact the Portuguese Inquisitors eliminated the barbaric act in 1628; Maria in the film was deemed a witch numerously without evidence... typical language of deism at the time, Franco evaluated the term and its Inquisitor damnation accutely.

Franco's Marquis de Sade influence were slighty more blatant than the mystery of the 'love letters...' author or authors - albeit, de Sade's love letters were scrawled out on the skin of sheep, hidden away in the attic at Condé Castle. His infamous work named: 'Justine' (1791) is the doppelganger of Franco's Maria Rosalea Courinho: 'there's an unusual tenderness and mature sensitivity in both girls; furthermore, a virginal expression that's ineffable.' A fresh blossoming youth glistens through their complexions, framed by the fairest of locks. Any smearing of filth, bodily effluence would emphasise the shock factor, the repetitive three trickled lines of blood symbolizing satan's mark followed by a bloodcurdling cry bouncing off the neoclassical construction within Serra D'Aires convent; such is the normality of punishment, no nun nearby winces. Franco and de Sade gravitated to the ideology of the misfortune of virtue, finding unconditional faith a perilous repulsive journey, inheritted by evil deeds, lawless crimes and yet adorn with followers. My attention was drawn to the pictures of satan's forehead-horn, comically painted on flesh as if it was a joke, inadvertently, you'll detect a slap-dash painterly theme thereafter. Not exactly the breathetaking realism modern filming prides itself on, albeit, lightens the mood visually, altogether a trademark expression from Jess Franco. An psychedelic identity clause bolstered from the success of 'Gritos en la Noche,' (1962).

The film aficionado will pur excitedly over the shapes and techniques employed in the Franco frame, far less crass than other works I must admit - naturally a testament to the literary works of Marquiz de Sade. Granted, the antediluvian beams creaked in the heat and as a voyeur you can almost smell the must, the burning of candles, the perspiration of anticipation - the poultice to relief inflammation. Accompanied with the sensory maverick music scores of Walter Baumgartner, you're transported, whereby strings become songbirds... and the picturesque scenes symbolise an escapism far from the autogenous walls of satanic verse. Franco successfully delved into stark misfortune of residing within barbaric virtues, all of which is signified by disorientating horizontal angles and upside down triangles emblematic to genitalia, indeed the Serra D' Aires convent the prototypical sleazoid setting. There was something heart-wrenching at witnessing Maria's devilish visitation, notably a jocose satan with a turnip-style horn breaking through the forehead skin. His introduction was a flash of fire, such was the feverish anticipation nuns in sequence ripped open their scapulars - probably got too hot what with satan's presence. A filthy libidinous hand grabbed Maria's porcelain derriere and a trance-like-state clouded over the nun's generic serene expression. One part of me wanted a woodworm beam to fall to disrupt the staged proceedings; alas, that isn't what Franco is renown for, there's no twists or Hitchcock wizardry... instead I had a random hypothesis... "surely the apocalypse could be equally as extramundane... our whole existence could be wiped out so quickly that we'll all have that indifferent expression on our faces before we turn to dust."

Joker in the pack

No mortal turned to dust at the sight of Herbert Fux's satanic clowning around, what's telling was that there was no sign of Franco's future wife, the latin beauty Lina Romay throughout... herewith a wise choice, for her incubus notoriety was immune from nunsploitation. One probable factor was that Romay was six years older than the youthful Hemingway and paid little resemblance to de Sade's, 'Justine.' Fitz Lang spoke openly about Franco's cinematic style 'of playing up to the audience' during the second-wind of the golden age, post James Cagney. Much of the half-face close-ups of Berger's Father Vicente character felt distinctly intense, only an actor of the calibre of Berger dare pose a lustful stare for longer than necessary - hence, not exactly 'British Pathe' though with a dramatic music score. Lang deemed Franco as the Warhole of film, a mass manufacturer, a factory foreman producing the unthinkable because no-one would think of it - furthermore, glorifying the kitsche, vamping up the bitch in the innocent and divinely oppressed. The movie's catholic / satanic believability is inexorable... aided by location and tranquility of Baumgartner's craft. Even the little part Vitor Mendes played (he was the moist, rotund Mayor) had a clumsy, shocking essence about it, all created within eight pinnacle minutes - societal hierachies working in tandem. for the agency of God. As a voyeur, you denote the deistic rule and punishment prophecies uncovers the deep-rooted vulnerability of humanity; why the movie seems timeless. Physically we evolve but our mindfulness does not, while 'influenced by so-called supernatural sources.'

In regards to the well being of Maria, Franco is tender and omnipotent for he clarifies that inner faith conqueors all cosmetic misguidances. In other terms by observing nunsploitative content, not once did I think it was exploitative et al. All concerned performed to their potential under a watchful eye of a diligent director, nothing unsightly was caught in the frame - unless you deem skin or wood on flesh too nauseously repulsive. Therefore, I can guess that walking in a wooded area on a hot day may not appeal, plus the chances are you may meet flesh-y walkers -- heaven forbid. Such innocents are thwarted by satanic perversions... this is the Franco message here. Evidently for those who're easily offended, look no further than Father Vicente's mullet, the fly-away shoddy cut is of a 1970s surfer; as about evangelical as David Soul in 'Starsky and Hutch.' However, I don't recall Soul having a quivery bottom lip, while polishing the Gran Torino bonnet with his jeans. Fading in, fading out and timing is everthing and Jess Franco explored it and delivered on myriad levels in producing 'Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun' - ultimately the film-maker probably found the 'nunsploitative' tagline complimented his Cuban flamboyancy, of the view he created these types of movies to please himself. Refeshing to conclude that Franco actually enjoyed being a director of films, unusual I know... because eroticism for those with soul is as dull as dishwater.©1st2thebar 2017

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Comments on this review

  • gazhack published 21/08/2017
    Deep stuff
  • LiveMusicLoverLyn published 30/07/2017
    Nicely done
  • danielalong published 28/07/2017
    E x
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Product Information : Love Letters Of A Portuguese Nun (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

A young girl, Maria, is caught in with her lover by a priest who then persuades her parents to send her to the nunnery at Serreda Iris. Once here, Maria soon realises that the nuns have a more that usual interest in her body. The nuns soon begin to torture Maria and subject her to sexual trials. The nuns of Serreda Iris are actually Satanists!<BR>Maria tries to escape, but cannot and in a last act of desperation writes a letter to God, the only friend she feels she can trust. She throws the letter out of the window hoping for help. Her hopes are answered.


Listed on Ciao since: 08/06/2005