The Innocents Anne Fontaine

Poland, December 1945. French Red Cross doctor Mathilde (Lou de Laâge) answers a plea to come to the aid a convent of Benedictine nuns and discovers that several of the sisters are in the late stages of pregnancy, the result of mass rape by Russian soldiers in the closing stages of the war.

As she strives to minster to the nuns clandestinely, the atheist Mathilde faces danger from the occupying Soviet forces and hostility from the convent’s strict Mother Superior (Agata Kulesza), who is determined to keep the scandal secret.

Shot in appropriately muted, wintry tones, French director Anne Fontaine’s sobering historical film The Innocents (aka Agnus Dei) is far removed from such previous films of hers as Gemma Bovery, Adore and Coco Before Chanel. Nevertheless, she shows herself totally in command, creating gripping, occasionally harrowing drama out of real events while intelligently probing questions of faith and doubt, shame and duty, obedience and compassion.

Certificate 15. Runtime 115 mins. Director Anne Fontaine

The Innocents debuts on Sky Cinema Premiere on Wednesday 23 August.