Les Innocentes is set in a convent in Poland at the end of 1945. This true story is based on the diary of a French doctor and communist who was an active member of the resistance against the Nazis.
Working for the French Red Cross, the young medical doctor Mathilde (excellent performance by Lou de Laâge) is repatriating French nationals. One morning a Polish nun comes to the hospital in need of her help. Initially Mathilde declines her request. When she later calls at the convent in secret, she is met by a heavily pregnant nun. She delivers the baby by Caesarean section and in the following days another six nuns also give birth. They became pregnant after being raped by marauding Red Army soldiers, who raped in total 25 nuns and murdered others. Gradually and out of necessity, the nuns must open their community to a secular outsider.
Filmed in a ruined Polish nunnery, in the depths of winter, the film begins with a sinister intensity. But the further Mathilde opens up the convent, the more warmth seeps into the film, boosted by the use of natural lighting.
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