The Innocents

This brilliant drama, "Les innocentes" (English captions), was submitted by France and Poland for the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival. Our press screening audience was agreed: This is one of the best films of 2016 SIFF so far. This review was first published in the Spring of 2016, so some of you have seen it before.

Director Anne Fontaine ("Gemma Bovery") working with a team of writers, brings us the upsetting tale of a young Red Cross worker dispatched to assist the survivors of the German invasion in 1945 Poland. She is called to help seven Benedictine nuns who are in an advanced stage of pregnancy. They had been raped by the Russian army who came to liberate them from the Germans. Therein lies our tale...

The cast:
  • Lou de La├óge - Mathilde Beaulieu has her work cut out for her. She assists with surgery on wounded French soldiers, but is secretly called to help at a local cloister. Their secrets are not hers to tell...
  • Agata Kulesza is the Mother Abbess. It is her religious community that has been violated, but the vows her lambs took are the most important thing. They MUST NOT BREAK THEM.
  • Agata Buzek - Maria isn't as deeply traumatized as some of the others, but has to find a middle ground for her sisters. She can see the damage being done by Mother Abbess but has sworn to obey.
  • Joanna Kulig - Irena is torn between her vows and motherhood.
  • Vincent Macaigne - Samuel has to accept the loss of Mathilde when they go their separate ways, but first there is additional work to be done.
This memorable film addresses the quandaries for the women, from a social, philosophical, political and spiritual point of view. Or as one audience member put it, "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!"
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See the Sundance trailer:
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