What's it About
At the tender age of 15, Therese Martin (Mouchet), a schoolgirl from Lisieux, enters a Carmelite convent and embarks on a life of pure devotional bliss as a “bride of Jesus.” Adored by her peers in the cloister, especially lovestruck Lucie (Alexandridis), the hallowed young sister keeps a diary in which she records her experiences of religious ecstasy. But her fervid, single-minded commitment to Christ slowly begins to sap the girl’s physical strength.
Why we love it
Alain Cavalier’s affectionate retelling of the legend of Therese Martin, a canonized saint known to Catholics as “the Little Flower of Jesus,” was a Grand Jury prize winner at Cannes. The script, co-written by Cavalier’s daughter Camille de Casabianca, is faithful to Martin’s diary, and the camera focuses our attention on Mouchet’s radiant face, while shifting between exquisitely minimal settings (a chair, a light, a bare gray soundstage). Like Dreyer’s “Joan of Arc,” this film adopts a respectful attitude toward the agonizing rapture of personal faith.