Saturday, June 9, 2012

The True Story of the Nun of Monza (1980)

The True Story of the Nun of Monza (1980)

Bruno Mattei’s The True Story of the Nun of Monza (La vera storia della monaca di Monza) might not be the sleaziest nunsploitation movie ever made, but it’s plenty sleazy enough.

Virginia de Leyva is heiress to the feudal domains, and title, of the lord of Monza. For some obscure reason her family has decided she should enter a convent, and the Church receives a very handsome amount of money for approving the deal.

The convent chosen is perhaps not the most shining example of the virtues of the religious life. The nuns seem to spend most of their time indulging in intrigues and having sex (with each other or with any men who happen to be available). And the local priest Don Arrigone who also acts as confessor to the nuns is an even less worthy example. His best friend Giampaolo Osio is an unabashed rake. Don Arrigone and Giampaolo regard seducing nuns as a highly attractive sporting activity.

Giampaolo has no great difficulty talking his way into Sister Virginia’s bed. Apart from being possessed of a fairly healthy sexual appetite Sister Virginia is also ambitious an not overly scrupulous. And having the natural confidence that comes of being a noblewoman she appears to have a bright future ahead of her in the Church. When the Mother Superior falls ill it’s no great surprise that Sister Virginia is seen as her natural successor. To strengthen her position she appoints one of her more enthusiastic supporters, Sister Benedetta, as her second-in-command. It will come as no great surprise that Sister Benedetta is not exactly a model of virtue either.

So far life in the convent of Monza seems rather pleasant. When Virginia’s father dies and she becomes the new feudal lady of Monza things are looking even brighter. With immense wealth and power in her hands Virginia as the new Mother Superior seems to be almost unstoppable. Then disaster strikes. She falls pregnant. Attempts to keep the pregnancy a secret are successful until the baby is due and a young novice offers her services as midwife. The novice has ambitions of her own, and she also wants Giampaolo Osio in her own bed. And she gets him, but events are now running out of control. A cabal of older nuns who disapprove of the new regime at the convent have made contact with the Inquisition. The Inquisitor is certainly going to find plenty of things to keep him busy at this convent.

It’s the usual nunsploitation sleaze recipe but it’s also a better made film than you might expect. Bruno Mattei might not have a shining reputation as a director but he manages to come up with some quite evocative images. It’s really a rather professional looking effort for a low-budget exploitation sleazefest.

The acting is reasonably competent as well. Zora Kerova is quite striking and handles the lead role quite adequately. Franco Garofalo as the lecherous priest and Mario Cutini as his even more lecherous buddy are suitably degenerate. Garofalo adds a nice helping of guilt and self-hatred to the mix.

There are no deep messages here apart from the fairly obvious ones about sex and power, but it’s an entertaining enough little movie in its own depraved way.

I picked it up as part of a three-movie nunsploitation DVD package from Media Blasters. The set also includes The Nuns of Saint Archangel and Joe d’Amato’s notorious Images in a Convent. I have no idea if these are the optimum DVD releases for these movies but the set was ridiculously cheap and is undoubtedly a worthwhile investment for those who just can’t get enough of the nunsploitation genre.

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