Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Don't Deliver Us From Evil (1971)

Anne and Lore are best friends, two teenage girls at an all-girl Catholic boarding school. They realise that sinning is a lot more fun than being good, so they decide to devote themselves to Satan instead of God. All good so far, right? Unfortunately, these girls aren't just naughty in a fun way, they're downright mean. We follow them over the course of a summer holiday where they get up to no good. They play seduction games with local simpletons, kill some pet birds and indulge in a bit of arson...until one day when it all goes horribly wrong.

Don't Deliver Us From Evil is a curious one, a coming-of-age film without the feelgood factor. The devotion to sin and Satan might have started as an innocent act of rebellion, a game of sorts, but when you're just making the rules up as you go along, where does the game end? This is what Anne and Lore have to figure out. They kill one bird and think it's hilarious when its owner starts crying out of grief, but when Anne kills a second bird, she breaks down with guilt. Then there's their interest in sex. They're obsessed with it and constantly crave sexual attention, but neither of them are ready for it or know what to do with it.

The Catholic Church weren't too keen (probably still aren't) on the film and it's not difficult to see why.

I don't want to give away too much about this film, cause it's really worth seeing, shocking and tender in equal measures.

It's beautifully shot and Jeanne Goupil and Catherine Wagener are both excellent as the two friends, managing the tricky task of being good, bad, sexy, silly and hideously annoying often at the same time.

With all the young flesh on display the film was obviously made for a male audience. However, all the men in the film are portrayed as weak-minded, incompetent or just blind to what's going on around them. I don't know if it was intentional, but it sure seems like director Joel Seria is taking the piss out of his own audience, telling us "go on, watch these young girls prancing around in their underwear, while I tell you how weak and how easy to manipulate you are".

Anyway. It's a good'un.

Available on DVD from Mondo Macabro.

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