So far, so good, until Grandier goes a step too far and marries the woman he loves. This infuriates Sister Jeanne, who turns him in to his enemies and a Ken Starr-like "witch-hunter," Fr. Barré, who stirs up a pandemonium of naked nuns (they are all more nubile than my recollections from Sunday school). This fills about 10 minutes of screen time with a blasphemous, acrobatic, bare-bottomed orgy. The lesson being that not only are women treacherous and sexually omnivorous, but they look really hot wearing only a wimple.
But let's not condemn The Devils out of hand; Russell's images combine the geometric austerity of Art Deco with the Grand Guignol horror of Hieronymous Bosch. Perhaps the film's finest scene is its last, a terrifying allusion to Brueghel's The Triumph of Death. Too bad the film submits to that trait endemic to the best-intended '70s filmmakers — the triumph of misogyny.
, Marquis de Sade, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, More