/Review: Jacques Rivettes masterful La Religieuse still speaks truth to abusive power

Review: Jacques Rivettes masterful La Religieuse still speaks truth to abusive power

Her sufferings take on a different cast when she is transferred to another convent, where a far less conservative mother superior, Madame de Chelles (Liselotte Pulver), pursues her with barely disguised lust. Again and again the chaste Suzanne, a child ostensibly conceived in sin, is forced to bear the burden of other people’s desires, even in a social order that demands the appearance of strict propriety. It’s a story with clear applications beyond just the 18th century Catholic Church, which may explain why Rivette’s movie feels so undated, so conversant with our present moment, when repressive forces come cloaked in more than clerical robes.