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The soul and the flesh

· The film ·

In 1957 nuns in films could still be pure and faithful to their mission, and could still arouse enthusiasm in the audience: this is what Sister Angela did, masterfully played by Deborah Kerr, who was nominated for an Oscar in her role in the film L’anima e la carne (original title Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, directed by John Huston). The story takes place on an island in the Pacific, where a shipwrecked marine arrives and finds a missionary nun, with whom he must overcome a difficult test: the arrival of the Japanese on the island. The marine, rough and little interested in religion, will save them both from danger, while the relationship between him and the sister will touch unexpected spiritual puzzles. But it will also wound the hearts of both: the marine in love with a nun, the Sister - the film suggests - tempted but in the end able to remain faithful to her mission. It's hard to have God as a rival in love, the film seems to conclude.

And Sister Angela has been without doubt one of the most beautiful - in every sense! – of all the religious figures portrayed in the history of cinema.




St. Peter’s Square

Feb. 29, 2020