Flavia, the Heretic

1974 [ITALIAN]

Drama / Horror

IMDb Rating 5.8 10 1052

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
August 23, 2021 at 03:57 PM


927.89 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 41 min
P/S 94 / 115

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Red-Barracuda 7 / 10

A very good example of an exploitation film with a serious point

A young woman is sent to a nunnery by her domineering father in 15th century southern Italy, while there she is subject and witness to many atrocities. She later flees and becomes the lover of the leader of an invading Muslim army and with his muscle underpinning her; she enacts grisly revenge on those who have wronged her.

Flavia the Heretic is one of the prime examples of the sub-genre known as nunsploitation. Along with The Devils (1971), it combines some serious drama along with gruesome exploitative material. Although it could be argued that in both of these films the nasty scenes are pretty necessary in reflecting the grimness of their respective stories. Both films look at the dubious actions of the church in the middle ages but Flavia more specifically has a feminist outlook as well and considers the role of women at that time. Consequently, this is an unusually serious minded bit of nunsploitation. It is considerably helped in this regard by a standout turn from the always impressive Florinda Bolkan in the lead role. She essays the emotional story arc of Flavia quite expertly and certainly elevates the drama of the story. This is a very interesting central female character of a type you don't see very often leading a movie, especially in a film of this type.

In regards to the more visceral aspects, there were a few very grim scenes of torture and graphic excess, including a borderline unwatchable castration of a horse and a gruesome climax. Some of the horrible scenes have a definite overall point though, such as a sequence where a rich and decadent duke rapes a servant girl in a pig sty. It's a scene that illustrates the way that women were treated like animals by the ruling classes who were at liberty to act as they saw fit. On the whole, Flavia the Heretic is an Italian genre film with a more art-house sensibility than was typical. It provides both vicarious thrills and something to actually think about. And that's not a bad achievement really.

Reviewed by Nodriesrespect 8 / 10

Sisters Without Mercy

Too many sources routinely lump this thought-provoking period drama in part based on historical fact together with the superficially similar "nunsploitation" which was a mainstay in '70s Euro trash cinema, overlooking the righteous anger that drives the whole endeavor. Perhaps coincidentally it was also director Gianfranco Mingozzi's singular attempt at narrative film-making outside of many well-received documentaries.

Safely set within a historical context, FLAVIA charts the growing rebellion of an early 15th century Italian nun (Florinda Bolkan's career performance, even surpassing her sterling work in Lucio Fulci's devastating DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING), locked away in convent by her not so nobleman father in a desperate attempt to curb the girl's budding sensuous nature. Wondering why women are relegated to secondary roles at best in life as in holy scripture, she is confronted by ways in which male domination can rupture female lives, inspiring revolt fueled by the ranting of semi-crazed older Sister Agatha (indelibly portrayed by veteran actress Maria Casarès from Marcel Carné's LES ENFANTS DU PARADIS) and - more constructively - by a Muslim invasion. Joining the oppressors and perhaps unwittingly manipulating them to do her bidding, Flavia truly becomes the outcast she already felt herself to be, with expected tragic results.

With its breathtaking widescreen compositions by Alfio Contini, who shot Michelangelo Antonioni's ZABRISKIE POINT, this is an uncompromising and austere account of one woman's fierce yet ultimately futile fight against patriarchal society which allotted her no rights beyond childbearing or whoring as Sister Agatha wryly remarks. A lengthy drug-induced fantasy sequence clearly modeled on Ken Russell's otherwise far more flamboyant DEVILS notwithstanding, the movie turns out relatively stingy in the skin department, making something of a mockery out of its semi-porn reputation. This is a serious work deserving rediscovery and restoration of its unjustly tarnished reputation.

Reviewed by macabro357 6 / 10

This nun kicks some ass


Finally Synapse releases the full, uncut version with the sex, torture and nudity intact. This is supposed to be the ultimate 'nuns in hell' movie, so it deserved a definitive version.

In the 15th Century, Flavia is sent to a convent by her evil father in order to cleanse her soul. She questions why the rules are the way they are and why men have to be in charge of everything. She also questions why nuns are routinely tortured for even the slightest of transgressions.

For instance, in a truly repellant scene, they dip cups of black tar on the stomach and breast of one nun and then cut her burned nipple off. Flavia can't stand any of this so she runs away with a local Jew who is an overseer of her father's dowry to the church. They are quickly caught and sent back to be punished. Flavia gets flogged with a whip while her Jewish companion is held in a dungeon with chains.

Then Flavia takes up with a Moslem commander after an attack on a coastal church, thereby guaranteeing her revenge on the convent. The Moslems rape and pillage the nuns, leaving all of them dead except for Flavia. She also stands by while the Moslems push her father down a hole leading into the torture chamber they used to routinely punished the nuns. The scene where the blond woman climbs into a cow's carcass is classic, although I think Pier Paolo Pasolini did something similar to that in one of his films. No?

In the end, her Moslem lover leaves her behind because she is disobedient, leaving her to her fate at the hands of the surviving Christians who torture her in an obscene manner. You the viewer will have to see it for yourself.

The film does have it's flaws, however. The pace is a little slow-going at times and the battle scenes between the Christians and the Moslems looks amateurish. The Synapse DVD has an interview with Florinda Bolkan concerning her views on feminism and the making of this film. She's aged quite a bit in the last 25 years, although I think she was already in her mid-30s when she made this film.

6 out of 10 for showing some originality in the nun genre.

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