The first full-length feature of Robert Bresson, made in 1943 and preceded only by his 1934 comedy, Affaires Publiques. His spare, concentrated style had not yet fully developed, but the seeds are there in this study of a Dominican nun's obsessive devotion to a female ex-convict who comes to live in her convent. The spiritual themes—confession, absolution, salvation—are explored through visual and dramatic paradoxes, as Bresson draws parallels between a life in prison and a life in God, and finds his final image of freedom in a pair of handcuffs. The script, by dramatist Jean Giraudoux, is talky and relatively conventional (it even makes some concessions toward some very un-Bressonian suspense), but the heaviness of the dialogue is balanced by Jany Holt's superbly understated performance as the prisoner—a performance that looks forward to the invisible acting style of Bresson's mature work.
Director: August Rieger
Writer: August Rieger
Producer: Karl Spiehs
Cast: Jany Holt, Renee Faure, Yolande Laffon, Sylvia Monfort, Paula Dehelly, Louis Seigner, Sylvie, Mila Parely, Marie-Helene Daste and Gilberte Terbois