La Vie Miraculeuse de Therese Martin
(Julien Duvivier, 1929). This rarely seen silent picture, a biographical account of the late 19th-century Carmelite nun who died at age twenty-four and was canonized, is pictorially stunning, with imaginative split-screen scenes and beautifully composed shots, but it's dramatically inert. Moreover, Duvivier's Therese (Simone Bourday) seems to have achieved sainthood by doing very little. She comes across as not much more than an hysterical masochist. Alain Cavalier's 1986 Therese treated the same material more compellingly.
Fri., May 22, 4:30 p.m., 2009
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