In 1897 Therese Martin, a young French girl, died of tuberculosis in a Carmelite convent in Lisieux. Twenty-eight years later, she was canonized and has since become known as "the Little Flower of Jesus." Her diaries, written in the convent, have been translated into numerous languages and
served as the basis for this film directed by Alain Cavalier and cowritten with his daughter, Camille De Casabianca. Catherine Mouchet stars as Therese, a novice who faces the cold, hard life of the convent with great spiritual devotion, suffering in silent physical deterioration. Like all
Carmelite nuns, she believes that she is the bride of Jesus Christ. Rather than viewing her "marriage" with Jesus in strictly spiritual terms, however, the schoolgirlish Therese views Him as something like a beau with whom she is infatuated. As her physical condition weakens, she is confined to
bed under the care of her fellow nuns and novices--all of whom have come to love her deeply.
In respect for this young saint whose simple and pure devotion led to her canonization, Cavalier and De Casabianca have fashioned a beautiful and sensitive film. Constructed in a series of tableaux, THERESE is sparse, with very little music, limited dialogue, and, most strikingly, a set
constructed in a minimal style. Rather than lose his fragile novice in an elaborate convent set, Cavalier places her against the plain grey backdrop of the sound stage, or in a simple pool of light. As Therese, Mouchet is to the film what Renee Falconetti was to Carl Dreyer's PASSION OF JOAN OF
ARC: the film rests upon her face, which simply radiates with a saintly glow. Winner of the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and recipient of Cesars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Young Female Hopeful (Mouchet), Best Script, and Best Editing (it also received nominations for
cinematography, sound, and costumes).
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1986
- Rating: NR
- Review: In 1897 Therese Martin, a young French girl, died of tuberculosis in a Carmelite convent in Lisieux. Twenty-eight years later, she was canonized and has since become known as "the Little Flower of Jesus." Her diaries, written in the convent, have been tran… (more)