Nun Deborah Kerr leads her convent of conspicuously young and gorgeous sisters to a remote Himalayan mountain town. They encounter, of all things, the attentions of a man—and we’re not talking the big guy upstairs. Black Narcissus (1947) explores female sexuality, holy ambition, and the hellacious effects of red lipstick in one of the more unlikely settings for a lusty rendezvous. This was Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s intitial foray into “composed film” with its meticuolously timed score and studio-built sets. Like in The Red Shoes, which would follow in 1948, the hyper-vibrant Technicolor is the real marvel here. Everything looks just a little too crisp—from landscapes to David Farrar’s rakish gaze. Kerr is all restraint, in contrast to the emotional Kathleen Byron or the winsome native played by Jean Simmons. Ultimately, tensions erupt the only way they can—in a life or death struggle on a 9,000-foot-high precipice.
Jan. 2-6, 1, 3:10, 5:20, 7:30 & 9:40 p.m.; Mon., Jan. 7, 1, 3:10, 5:20 & 9:10 p.m.; Tue., Jan. 8, 1, 3:10, 5:20, 7:30 & 9:40 p.m., 2013