...Well, I guess it can’t be all Jess Franco all of the time. It was a longer delay between Franco installments than expected, though I’d tried to give “Love Letters” a spin earlier last week, but alas, was interrupted by other cinematic going-ons. I did manage to get the gist of the plot-thrust, nevertheless… A young man and young woman are frolicking innocently through the woods when a mean old Catholic priest from St. Vincent's happens to take offense at witnessing such frolicking. He takes the girl back to her mother and basically manipulates the mother into giving consent for her daughter to be taken to the St. Vincent's nunnery, and then he proceeds to try to extort a “dowry” for the church’s inconveniencing. When it’s clear the mother is too poor to pay, he then threatens her with action from the Inquisition. He gets his way and the girl is off to become a nun, where she’s immediately subjected to a highly suspect examination of her virginity. It’s there, all right… but for how long…?
Things inevitably go from bad to worse as the young virgin discovers that St. Vincent's Catholic Church is actually just a cover for wholly Satanic goings-on and copious amounts of nudity and Earthly masochism. While this all might sound like a truckload of fun in its Euro-Nunsploitation context, and the inclusion of some off-kilter humour not withstanding, the whole thing nosedives into completely predictable melodramatic boredom with half an hour of the running time left to go, and it's at about this point the sex and nudity tapers off, too, leaving nothing much to keep the doldrums from setting in. Too bad, because this was the first Franco film I'd experienced where I thought he'd really have something socially subversive to say; Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun initially looked like it was one of those infamous films that caused the Catholic Church to declare Franco one of “the most dangerous filmmakers” to Catholicism. It's undeniably blasphemous, almost more so than the demon from The Exorcist, but perhaps the church should've watched this one all the way to the end.
Till next time...