Festival de Cannes 70: Matka Joanna od aniolów, 1961

A sunny shout-out to 70 winners at the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate the 70th event which is just around the corner – in no particular order.

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Matka Joanna od aniolów (Mother Joan of the Angels) is a remarkably affecting film achievement, making full use of the talent and techniques of its time to make a genuinely eerie, compelling drama that gets under the skin. At the core of the seventeenth century Polish tale is the heavy theme of demonic possession, and a priest assigned to a local village to investigate a convent of nuns clearly marked by evil, where the Mother Joan of the title seems to be the biggest threat. Directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz, this is an assured and unrelenting motion picture, with stunning photography, writing, and acting – in particular Mieczyslaw Voit, Lucyna Winnicka, and Anna Ciepielewska in key roles. At the Cannes Film Festival in 1961, Matka Joanna od aniolów won the Special Jury Prize.

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