Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 28th, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: Italy, 1973
Director: Domenico Paolella
Writers: Tonino Cervi, Domenico Paolella
Cast: Eleonora Giorgi, Suzy Kendall, Catherine Spaak, Umberto Orsini
DVD released: August 29th, 2006
Approximate running time: 97 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian, Dolby Digital English
DVD Release: No Shame
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: Carmela (Eleonora Giorgi) refuse to marry the man her family arranged for her to marry. She is in love with a peasant named Julian and to avoid the scandal her family has her put into a monastery for nuns. Carmela refuses to conform like the rest of the nuns which leads to her being punished and an outcast. She befriends a sister Elizabeth (Catherine Spaak) who helps her sneak out of the monastery for secret rendezvous with her lover Julian. Sister Elizabeth has ulterior motives for helping Carmela and when she makes her lesbian intentions known she is spurned by Carmela. Sister Elizabeth like a scorned woman decides to take the one thing away from Carmela that she loves most Julian.
Story of a Cloistered Nun was directed by Domenico Paolella who also directed around the same time the nunsploitation classic The Nuns of Saint Archangel. The films screenplay was co-written by Tonino Cervi who is best known for directing the spaghetti western Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die! The direction in Story of a Cloistered Nun is subtle style without over stating itself with flashy set pieces. The director use of soft focus photography suits the picture really well. The films haunting score was composed by Piero Piccioni. Longtime Ennio Morricone collaborator Bruno Nicolai conducted the score. The film boasts lavish sets and costumes that add to its authentic look. This film is not as sleazy as your typical nunsploitation, still the nuns brutally does shine through on a few occasions.
The films lead Eleonora Giorgi gives a genre defining performance as Carmela. The evolution her performance is nearly flawless as she transforms from a carefree young woman into a woman who has had a nervous breakdown and is ready to jump off the ledge. Euro Cult regular Suzy Kendall plays the Mother Superior with a sweetness that we have come to expect from her and in many ways this a direct contrast to the way most Mother Superior’s are portrayed in other nunsploitation films. Another strong performance is the almost unrecognizable Catherine Spaak who looks as far removed as one could be from her more glamorous role as Anna Terzi in Dario Argento’s The Cat o’ Nine Tails. Overall Story of a Cloistered Nun plays out more like a melodrama then an exploitation film.
No Shame presents Story of a Cloistered Nun in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This transfer was sourced from the films original negative and it shows with solid black levels and color reproduction. There are no problems with compression, artifacts or edge enhancement and print damage is no existent through out. Overall No Shame has done an amazing job with this film’s transfer.
This release comes with two audio options Italian and English. Both audio options are available in a Dolby Digital mono. The Italian mix sound cleaner of the two mixes with the English mix sporting some noticeable hiss. Removable English subtitles have been included that are easy follow and understand.
Extras for this release include the films original Italian language trailer with English subtitles and the films English language trailer. Other extras include a collectible poster that has liner notes about the film written on the back of it. Rounding out the extras is a twenty minute documentary titled “Sex behind the Veil” which includes interviews with Umberto Orsini and Eleonora Giorgi. They discuss how they got their roles in the film, trusting the director, the characters they played in the film and stories about the cast & crew. Overall No Shame gives one of the first Italian nunsploitation’s Story of a Cloistered Nun its best release to date via their superb DVD release.