Monday, October 12, 2015

The Devils (1971)

I find it fascinating that a film about a man condemned to death for something he did not do, has itself been condemned to death based on erroneous charges. I will certainly grant you that there are many shocking act depicted in The Devils, but they are not there to titillate or defile. Father Grandier is certainly no saint, but he is also not the beast which so many in the film accuse him of being. He’s prideful, petty and engages in numerous affairs, but his crimes are nothing in comparison to the myriad ways Sister Jeanne and her fellow nuns debase themselves for the sake of absolute anarchy.

You simply cannot get this across by soft-peddling the more outrageous moments. If you make the nun's blasphemous cavorting just as chaste as Grandier’s post-coital chats with lovers, you are creating a false equivalency. His is a sin of the flesh, the priest and his partners are human and prone to human folly. Father Grandier is even striving to pull himself together and settle down in a monogamous relationship. The sisters, on the other hand, are allowing themselves to be exploited by a corrupt system that desires only power. Sure this film employs graphic imagery, but it does so in the service of telling an extremely moral story. Hopefully one day Warner Brothers will come to their senses and #ReleaseTheDevils

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