Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 15th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1974
Director: Gianfranco Mingozzi
Writers: Bruno Di Geronimo, Gianfranco Mingozzi, Fabrizio Onofri, Sergio Tau
Cast: Florinda Bolkan, María Casares, Claudio Cassinelli, Anthony Higgins, Spiros Focás, Diego Michelotti, Raika Juri, Jill Pratt
DVD released: April 14th, 2008
Approximate running time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Shameless Films
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £12.99
Synopsis: A nun named Flavia rebels against the male dominated society that oppresses her.
Flavia the Heretic was made during the height of Nunsplotation cinema in the 1970’s. The plot centers around a young woman named Flavia who is forced by her sexist father into being a nun. At the core of the story is her journey of self discover and freedom from the male’s in her life who have dominated her. As the story progresses she becomes caught up in her quests for vengeance against those who had done her wrong. Eventually leading too her own fall from grace.
Flavia the Heretic while firmly entrenched in the Nunsplotation genre. The plot tries to balance its more violent aspects with the more perverse moments. Unlike most Nunsplotation film’s there is nothing remotely erotic in this film. The film does however go for the jugular when it comes to shocking the viewer with castrations, crucifixions and anal impalement’s being just a few of the visual delights awaiting you. The film’s strongest asset is Florinda Bolkan’s towering performance as Flavia.
The film’s lyrical score was composed by Nicola Piovani who’s other notable scores include, The Perfume of the Lady in Black, Footprints and the Oscar winning score for Life Is Beautiful. Ultimately if you can past the film’s more exploitative elements. Flavia the Heretic is a rewarding character driven historical drama. That is anchored by Florinda Bolkan’s most memorable and accomplished performance.
Shameless Films presents Flavia the Heretic in an Letterboxed widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. The transfer looks clean. Colors look nicely saturated and flesh tones look healthy. Black levels are in good shape and details remain stable throughout. When compared to the region 1 DVD from Synapse Film’s this transfer doesn’t look as sharp.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Outside of some minor instances of background noise this audio mix is more than adequate in getting the job done.
Extras for this release are limited to trailers for Flavia the Heretic, Frightened Woman, The Night Train Murders, Manhattan Baby and Killer Nun. A reversible covert art has been included with this release of the film’s original poster art. Also included with this release is a promo for two similar themed Nunsplotation films The Nun and the Devil and Story of a Cloistered Nun. Which are available on DVD from Argent Films. Overall while this release may not be as definitive as the region 1 release from Synapse Films. It is still impressive that Shameless Films was able to get this film released completely uncut for the first time ever in the UK.