Sunday, January 31, 2016
1930'S CHURCH DEPICTED IN THE 1959 "NUN'S STORY" AND THE 2016 CHURCH DEPICTED IN THE PHILIPPINES
Then last night (Saturday night) I watched the first half of "The Nun's Story" with Audry Hepburn on Turner Classic Movies. Oddly enough, or humorously enough, Sally Fields of "The Flying Nun" fame introduced the movie and spoke highly of it in the sense of allowing people to see what a group of woman who sacrificed much do, something that most people never had seen.
The hosts doubted that a movie like this could be made today. Certainly there are cloistered religious orders of women who have maintained many of the liturgical traditions captured in a stunningly marvelous way in this movie, but few have. The movie also captures the rigidity of religious life of this period and how the individual self was denied. It was done so not in a mocking or castigating way but simply to show the beauty of this way of life, this way of sacrifice, this way of humility closely related to humiliation, kissing it but not crossing the line.
I thought to myself as I watched the harsh discipline of religious life of that period as depicted in the movie which was based upon fact but elevated by the steroids of drama, how much this way of life is needed to counter balance the licentiousness of life today with its haughtiness and self-fulfilling aspects to the detriment of the common good. The idea of the pursuit of spiritual perfection would be scoffed at today.
But the liturgical scenes depicting the various aspects of a woman becoming a nun were magnificent. The interior shots of the movie were done in a movie studio in Rome, Cinemacitta. Thus even the church were the liturgical professions were filmed was but a set. The movie was nominated for many academy awards and certainly the set designer must have won a few. It looks like a Gothic chapel, simple but magnificent with its pre-Vatican II altar and sanctuary. This movie catapulted Audry Hepburn to stardom as a serious, dramatic actress. She is wonderful and believable in the movie.