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A sober portrait

· The film ·

There aren’t many films about St Teresa of Avila. Probably the best one of which traces remain, although it is far from easy to find, is the Spanish film Teresa de Jesús, directed by Juan de Orduña in 1961. 

A small production, it is a swift and useful compendium of the saint’s life, even though one cannot say that it entirely does justice to her human and religious depth. The film’s direction did not in fact have the means to show adequately her spiritual illumination or inner torments when she was accused by her detractors of falling prey to diabolic visions. Nevertheless the sober, laudably little romanticized portrait of a woman who could also fight for her own convictions at a political level against a milieu that, to say the least, was sceptical endures. And although the script does not have the ability to broaden our view of the historical context of the Church of that time, of which the saint was obviously, at least in part, a product, it succeeds in explaining clearly her need to reform the Carmelite Order, thanks to a precise depiction of atmospheres and characters, as well as the inspired interpretation of Aurora Bautista. (emilio ranzato)

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