Black Narcissus

Drama | English | 100 minutes


Sister Clodagh (designated the Sister Superior) and four other nuns   are sent to a remote Himalayan village to set up a school and hospital. They encounter problems from the get-go: needed maintenance on the old creaky building,  skeptical Hindu locals, and dealing with Angu Ayah, the irascible caretaker. The isolation and difficult circumstances affect each nun in a different way. Most extreme is the emotionally unstable Sister Ruth who becomes sexually obsessed with Mr. Dean, the general agent for the building. Meanwhile, Sister Clodagh remembers a failed romance while living in Ireland prompting her to join the order. The Sisters hire Kanchi, a local woman, to help out. Sister Clodagh confronts Sister Ruth when she observes her wearing a modern dress and heading to see Mr. Dean. Mr. Dean rejects Sister Ruth’s advances. Ruth has a mental breakdown as she approaches Sister Clodagh for an angry showdown.

Deborah Kerr (Sister Clodagh) / Kathleen Byron (Sister Ruth) / David Farrar (Mr. Dean) / Jean Simmons (Kanchi) / May Hallatt (Angu Ayah)
Why Stream This Film?
Peter Bradshaw, film critic for The Guardian stated that “BLACK NARCISSUS was his all-time top 10 favorite film.”
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 100%
  • Metacritic Score: 86
  • 75th Venice Film Festival, Winner, Golden Lion
  • Ten Academy Award Nominations. Winner: Best Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director (Alfonso Cuarón), Best Cinematographer (Alfonso Cuarón)
  • Festivals: Venice, Telluride, Toronto, New York
  • Best Film of 2018: Time Magazine and The New York Film Critics Circle
This lush 1947 adaptation about Anglican nuns wrestling with the sensuality that surrounds their Himalayan mission keeps the screen aglow and the mind agog.
Michael Sragow

The New Yorker

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger have come close to executing a perfect fusion of all the elements of cinematic art – story, direction, performances, and photography.
Bosley Crowther

The New York Times

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