Past Event18 Jul - 27 Jul 2016

The Innocents

No longer available

The Civic


Anne Fontaine’s (Coco avant Chanel) compelling and affecting drama The Innocents illuminates events that occurred in Poland in the aftermath of World War II, placing women’s experiences of war very much at its centre. Mathilde (Lou de Laâge), a young doctor with the French Red Cross, is entreated by a desperate young nun to make a secret visit to a nearby abbey. She arrives to find another young sister in labour. Mathilde is soon drawn into the intensely private world of the nuns as they confide the nightmare of the ‘liberating’ army that led to their predicament. Severely traumatised, some have refused to admit even to themselves that they are pregnant.

Concealing her involvement from the Red Cross, Mathilde seeks allies in the convent where many remain cowed by a grim hierarchy determined to suppress all evidence of their ‘shame’. She also enlists the support of a colleague, a Jewish doctor whose hopes of impressing her must outweigh his bitter scepticism about Polish Catholic piety. Elegantly shot and superbly, Fontaine’s war film eschews graphic depictions of violence to delineate and uphold the common humanity of those who foster renewal in its wake.

The Innocents

Agnus Dei
France/Poland 2016 
116 mins
In French, Polish and Russian, with English subtitles

Director: Anne Fontaine

Producers: Eric Altmayer, Nicolas Altmayer

Screenplay: Sabrina B. Karine, Alice Vial, Anne Fontaine, Pascal Bonitzer, Philippe Maynial

Photography: Caroline Champetier

Editor: Annette Dutertre

Production designers: Joanna Macha, Anna Pabisiak

Costume designer: Katarzyna Lewinska

Music: Grégoire Hetzel

With: Lou de Laâge (Mathilde), Agata Buzek (Sister Maria), Agata Kulesza (Mother Abbess), Vincent Macaigne (Samuel), Joanna Kulig (Irena), Eliza Rycembel (Teresa), Anna Prochniak (Zofia), Katarzyna Dabrowska (Anna), Helena Sujecka (Ludwika), Dorota Kuduk (Wanda), Klara Bielawka (Joanna), Mira Maludzinska (Bibiana), Pascal Elso (Colonel), Thomas Coumans (Gaspard), Leon Natan-Paszek (Wladek), Joanna Fertacz (Zofia’s aunt)

Festivals: Sundance, San Francisco 2016

For tickets and details about films at other venues, please visit the New Zealand International Film Festival website.

Watch the trailer

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