Flavia The Heretic / Flavia, la monaca musulmana (1974)

4.5 out of 5

Set in the 15th century Flavia The Heretic, far from being a straightforward case of exploitation of the nun theme, is a feminist polemic set against the backdrop of the Turkish invasion of the Salento peninsula.

Flavia, Florinda Bolkan, oppressed by her overbearing father, becomes a liberated spirit in world that offers no route beyond that dominated by patriarchy. In reaction to the injustices that surround her she allies herself with an invading Muslim army seeing them as a liberating force and a vehicle for her revenge only to realise that the male dominated world stretches way beyond the society within which she grew up. Flavia is caught between a new male dominated environment of Islam or a return the the old order to face the charge of heresy.

As an allegorical tale of a more contemporary world Flavia The Heretic, thematically at least, shares much with Fernando DiLeo's To Be Twenty.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics