Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So it’s exploitation time, right? And I figure why not do a little nunsploitation since we’re a light on exploiting nuns here at the FCU, which led to this film ‘Sacrilege’ or ‘La Monica di Monza’ as it is known in its native Italy. We have an absolutely smoking star in the completely devastating Myriem Roussel, a bunch of sexually depraved nuns, a sexually debased priest, a slick talking handsome suitor, deception, murder, rape, abortion, child birth… what more could anyone looking for some exploitive goodness be searching for? Or more accurately, how could all of these things add up to be so darned dull?

Virginia Maria de Leyva (Roussel) is the Nun of Monza, and if you forget that she is the Nun of Monza she has no problem reminding you of this. Sister Virginia runs her monastery with an iron hand, tolerating no nonsense from her younger sisters, like how they love to peer out the window and watch the young man wrestle or when the young sister in waiting was conversing with the scurrilous nobleman Giampaolo Osio (Alessandro Grossman). So upset that Sister Virginia cockblocked his game, Giampaolo swears revenge. It just so happens that priest Don Paolo (Augusto Zucchi) has been observing Sister Virginia, knowing that there is a man who pays her visits very often. Yes, this man would like to be with Sister Virginia… who wouldn’t… but there’s nothing happening there, just the exchange of notes. Don Paolo knows that human sexuality simply cannot be stripped away and that sister Virginia needs this attention, just like all humans need some form of intimacy, be it physical or emotional. This was four hundred years ago. Oddly enough this insane practice is still tolerated to this day.

So Giampaolo removes this form of intimacy from the equation of Sister Virginia and replaces it with himself. It was a process, but he made it happen. Just so you know, emotional support is not what Giampaolo has in mind. Thus guided by this strange priest, Giampaolo eventually gets what he wants, that being Sister Virginia and all she has to offer. And not to mention her roommates who are covering for her, because as it turns out you can only watch a two people have sex for so long before you get a little worked up, like these two. Also, Sister Virginia really, really wanted to stop having sex with this guy, going to some extreme measures to make this happen that we absolutely refuse to discuss, but apparently Giampaolo’s demon worm was too damn strong.

Ah, but you can only have sex with a nun in 15th century Italy for so long, no matter how hot she may be, before something has to give. Mind you, Giampaolo gave it his best shot to make sure all the evidence of his transgressions were silenced, but history tells us that he failed at this. And the price to pay, at this point and time for having fun with a nun, for all involved… were extreme to say the least.

The first thing we probably need to recognize when discussing director Luciano Odorisio’s ‘Sacrilege’ is that this films has more than likely been mislabeled when calling it nunsploitation. For instance there is only one real sex scene in this movie. True enough, it is a fairly graphic one, but one sex scene an exploitation film does not make. What we’re really dealing with here is an adult oriented presentation of true historical events, and from what I’ve read and from what I’ve seen in this film, this representation is fairly accurate. So we know that ‘Sacrilege’ isn’t an exploitation film, at least not in truest sense of exploitation, and if it was meant to be, it failed at this. Unfortunately for us, and we do recognize that our brain was set on exploitation mode, it still failed as a gripping drama.

The main issue that we had is that director Odorisio paces his movie so slowly, so methodically, that after a while we watch in a state of desperation, waiting for almost anything to happen. When the priest tells young Giampaolo to be patient, I think he was talking to us, the audience, as opposed to the young nobleman. And it’s not like this methodical pace was giving us any clarity when it came to these wacky characters we were spending time with. There were only two main characters in this movie, Virginia and Giampaolo, and outside of both of them being good looking, who knows who these people were and why they were driven to do things they did. In an exploitation movie, we don’t care about that stuff. All we care about is that people get naked and do stuff that makes no sense. In a real movie, things like character motivation and character development are pretty damned critical. ‘Sacrilege’, unfortunately for us, was a real movie.

The film did look nice, Myriam Roussel is absolutely beautiful… to this day… and it did provide a solid basis of an actual historical event. It just wasn’t any fun to sit through. Nunsploitation? No sir, watch ‘Sister Emmanuelle’ or ‘Nun of That’ for some of that. Watch this if you have a history paper due on the fall of the Nun of Monza and want to see a sex scene in the middle to lighten things up.

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