Storia di una monaca di clausura (Story of a Cloistered Nun) (1973)

Carmela (Eleonora Giorgi) refuse to marry the man her family arranged for her to marry. She is in love with a peasant named Julian and to avoid the scandal her family has her put into a monastery for nuns. Carmela refuses to conform like the rest of the nuns which leads to her being punished and an outcast. She befriends a sister Elizabeth (Catherine Spaak) who helps her sneak out of the monastery for secret rendezvous with her lover Julian. Sister Elizabeth has ulterior motives for helping Carmela and when she makes her lesbian intentions known she is spurned by Carmela. Sister Elizabeth like a scorned woman decides to take the one thing away from Carmela that she loves most Julian.

Story of a Cloistered Nun was directed by Domenico Paolella who also directed around the same time the nunsploitation classic The Nuns of Saint Archangel. The films screenplay was co-written by Tonino Cervi who is best known for directing the spaghetti western Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die! The direction in Story of a Cloistered Nun is subtle style without over stating itself with flashy set pieces. The director use of soft focus photography suits the picture really well. The films haunting score was composed by Piero Piccioni. Longtime Ennio Morricone collaborator Bruno Nicolai conducted the score. The film boasts lavish sets and costumes that add to its authentic look. This film is not as sleazy as your typical nunsploitation, still the nuns brutally does shine through on a few occasions.

The films lead Eleonora Giorgi gives a genre defining performance as Carmela. The evolution her performance is nearly flawless as she transforms from a carefree young woman into a woman who has had a nervous breakdown and is ready to jump off the ledge. Euro Cult regular Suzy Kendall plays the Mother Superior with a sweetness that we have come to expect from her and in many ways this a direct contrast to the way most Mother Superior’s are portrayed in other nunsploitation films. Another strong performance is the almost unrecognizable Catherine Spaak who looks as far removed as one could be from her more glamorous role as Anna Terzi in Dario Argento’s The Cat o’ Nine Tails. Overall Story of a Cloistered Nun plays out more like a melodrama then an exploitation film.