Magdalene Sisters (The)

Magdalene Sisters (The)
Envoyer à un ami Imprimer la page Accéder au forum Notez ce film
Magdalene Sisters (The)
Ukraine, 2003
De Peter Mullan
Scénario : Peter Mullan
Avec : Anne-Marie Duff, Dorothy Duffy, Geraldine McEwan, Nora-Jane Noone, Eileen Walsh
Durée : 2h00
Sortie : 01/01/2003
Note FilmDeCulte : ****--

Ireland, 1964. Margaret, Bernadette and Rose are unwillingly taken off to the Marie-Madeleine Sisters convent in order to pay for sins they are innocent of.


The film is based on an edifying true story. Up until 1986 tens of thousands of young Irish women were locked up against their will in convents turned into prisons, the religious institutions of Marie-Madeleine. Moved by a documentary about the terrible fate of these women condemned for crimes they weren’t guilty of, Scottish actor Peter Mullan decided to make this shocking movie, whose images are at times unbearable. His mentor Ken Loach, who directed him in Riff-Raff and My Name is Joe, gave him his taste for disturbing cinema-verité. For a just cause, all means are good and cinema, with its universal aspect, is the most obvious media to inform the whole world about a truth hidden for far too long. Golden Lion at the 2002 Venice Film Festival, The Magdalene Sisters has given rise to a big controversy in Italy, the Vatican accusing Peter Mullan of primary manicheism. Unfortunately for the bigoted churchgoers many tongues have loosened, especially in Great Britain where the movie turned out to be a genuine hit in theaters, a rather unusual turn of events for such a harsh and troubling movie.


After a bitter introduction rich with meaningful silences, family passivity in the face of male domination, Peter Mullan takes us into the daily horror of three young women locked up in an asylum for accused sinners. He goes right to the point when he shows the traffic organised by the Church and the guilty pleasures of some unfrocked priests. To underline the reality, and thus the uneasiness, he has chosen a sober and strict production without useless effects. Hand-held camera, pale lighting, rigid framing: it’s impossible to escape the numerous and repetitive bullying of a devilish mother superior. Every spark of hope is followed by an increasingly exemplary punishment. The three main actresses bring some freshness to this staggering movie with their obvious talent. Peter Mullan stays discrete with them, putting them almost in the background. Despite a few tasteless choices such as Craig Amstrong’s useless score meant only to heavily underline emotions, and the strange final shot that clearly wants to mark viewers for life, The Magdalene Sisters remains a courageous film that proved to be essential given the debates it’s provoked.

par Yannick Vély