Monday, April 4, 2011

Lust for God

The Devils (1971) - Russell
Heavily censored and outright banned in many countries upon its release, Ken Russell's The Devils tells a story of witchery and political intrigue in the plague ridden 17th century France in true Ken Russell fashion - operatic, vulgar and very very entertaining.

Father Grandier (Oliver Reed) of city state Loudun becomes the leader against the Cardinal (and King Louis XIII's consort) who wants to consolidate power in all of France in order to suppress protestant revolts. Well regarded and loved by many women (including all the nuns at the local convent), Grandier is a very vain man. Mother Jeanne (Vanessa Redgrave), a deformed nun in charge of the local convent is sexually obsessed with Grandier. The news of his secret marriage tips her over the edge and into madness. Other nuns follow suit. Baron Loubardemont, under the cardinal's order to demolish Loudun takes this opportunity to carry out despicable exorcism (forced enema among others) on the nuns in their religious/sexual frenzy and therefore accusing Grandier of bewitching the lustful nuns. It all culminates to the raping of the statue of Jesus in the convent by naked crazy nuns and Grandier burning at the stake.

While poking fun at the organized religion and its faithfuls, Russell's bombastic filmmaking can be too much at times (especially crazy zoom-in/out shots in the orgy scene). Derek Jarman's set design - white tiled Loudun and David Watkins's hot-lights-in-your-face cinematography heighten the craziness. But it's Reed's performance (of his career) as a complex man of god that gives the film its gravitas. And orchestrating this much madness is an achievement in itself.


  1. Thats right , In some part of the world wasn't able to watch it .

  2. I don't understand why some countries take that kind of options , As not leting other to watch it.