Sister Juana (Assumpta Serna) is a gentle poet and a none-too-pious nun, living in seventeenth-century Mexico. She is protected by the Governor and his wife from a ferociously misogynistic Archbishop, who some believe is using his hatred of women to hide from his very powerful lust for them. Indeed, it is possible that he is the actual father of Sister Juana. Regardless of that, her life becomes extremely grim when her loving patrons return to Spain, leaving her to the not-so-tender mercies of this harsh man. This difficult story is based on a novel by the award-winning poet and writer Octavio Paz. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi
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This film is based on the life story of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz who was a woman of truly exceptional intelligence. She was relegated to the convent because there was no other place for the powers of her mind to develop. She is known as the greatest Baroque writer in Spanish-America. She was an early proto-feminist, having argued brilliantly in favor of women's education. Scholars still question the relationship she had with her protectress; some believe they shared a romantic love. The church authorities forced her to give up her studies and become a "real" nun." This movie is not for everyone, it's a bit slow moving, but it shows the drastic limits placed on women's lives in the 17th century and tells the tale of a truly exceptional woman of history.
True story of Sister Juana, a 17th century Mexican nun, born a peasant, who later became known as one of the great poets. But in her own time she was crushed by a Catholic church frightened of women pursuing art The film is beautifully shot, well acted, always interesting. But the highly theatrical sets and lighting, a style I often like, did not seem to serve a purpose here. The story is acted and written in a naturalistic way. I found myself pulled out of the film by the lights and set.
More important, the climatic twist of the film, finally having her spirit crushed by the church, happens way too rapidly, and mostly off-camera. Last, the film sets up its antagonists, and their
positions so clearly, that there is only one possible path for the story to
travel. We know Juana will eventually become a victim, so the film becomes just waiting for that painful decline.