Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Movie with Abe: The Passion of Augustine

The Passion of Augustine
Directed by Léa Pool
Released August 15 on VOD

Stories that take place in convents aren’t usually the most optimistic or positive. Some darker tales over the past few decades have made such settings seem unsettling, but it’s good to know that there are plenty of more inspirational films that don’t involve torture, death, or haunting. No matter what goes on inside the walls of the convent, it’s likely that things happen at a different pace or in a different way than they do in the outside world. Preserving things the way they are can be a struggle no matter when or where in history.

Mother Augustine (Céline Bonnier) works at a convent school in Quebec in the 1960s, far from city life. The convent specializes in music education, enabling all who attend the opportunity to learn, including her niece, who is hardly the most well-behaved or manageable of students. Changes in society around the convent, coming from both the religious body of the Vatican and the political entity of the province of Quebec, threaten everything that Augustine has worked for, indicating that the convent may soon be headed for a new type of existence that doesn’t offer nearly the same cultural values it has been known for up until that point.

“The Passion of Augustine” tells a story that’s somewhat familiar about an outlier in an institution not known for its desire to embrace change or to think outside the box, and of course it’s a new kind of change which seems to be reactionary that serves as the thing that she precisely fights against. The school itself is already evolved to an impressive level, and seeing the way in which the students at the convent embrace music as a way to spread their message and raise awareness of what they are trying to preserve is endearing.

This film has won a number of awards, particularly for its acting, at film festivals and in Canada since its debut in Montreal back in March 2015. Now, more than two years later, it comes to VOD on a number of platforms in the United States. It is a well-made drama that utilizes music to great effect, with no added sexual content or violence and a relatively simple, straightforward narrative that speaks for itself definitely worth watching for those who find its premise and content appealing and who are interested in hearing some music passionately performed.


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