Sister Juana Ines de la Cruz (Serna) is a gifted and prolific poet in 17th-century Mexico. Loathed by a misogynistic archbishop (Murúa) and envied by some in the cloister as her literary reputation grows, Juana enjoys the protection of a forward-thinking governor and his sensual wife, the Vicereine (Sanda), who becomes Sister Juana’s erotic muse. But Juana’s life changes drastically when the Viceroy loses his position, and her benefactors are forced to return to Spain.
Based on Octavio Paz’s novel about Spain’s great Golden Age poetess, who was persecuted for her proto-feminist attitudes by the ferociously repressive Catholic hierarchy of her time, Bemberg’s drama examines hypocrisy and a woman at odds with social conventions. Played with flinty passion by Serna, Juana enters the convent not so much out of spiritual feeling, but as a way to nurture her literary vocation. Ironically, it is that intelligence and passion others seek to crush. “I, the Worst of All” is a moving tribute to a truly brave and original artistic spirit.