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October 22, 2010

Movie Review: Behind Convent Walls (Cult Epics)

Directed by: Walerian Borowczyk

Cinema Head Cheese has been pretty sparse in the nun-sploitation department, so I thought, why not kick off this sub-genre with Walerian Borowczyk’s classic contribution, Behind Convent Walls – from Cult Epics. For those of you unfamiliar with Walerian Borowczyk – he is Polish-born Catholic filmmaker who immigrated to France to pursue his passion of making movies, that were not only a visual feast but filled with very controversial subject-matter. One of those being, the Catholic church. His focus in Behind Convent Walls is clearly on the oppression of sexuality in the Christian faith – with nuns and a very cantankerous Mother Superior. These nuns look nothing like the ones you may have grown up with in Catholic school – many are actually quite lovely. Add an uninhibited-ness to the saucy mix and you have a convent filled with raging desire that would make Pope Benedict mess his papal gown.

Buy Behind Convent Walls on

Based on Stendahl’s story, Roman Walks, Behind Convent Walls tells the tale of a Mother Superior(Gabriella Giacobbe) that has nearly lost all control of the young nuns in her convent. This proves to be a monumental task, as virtually all of the young ladies are showing no sense of restraint when it comes to giving and receiving the carnal pleasures - they’re so forbidden . Behind Convent Walls is as much an exploitation film as it is an arthouse feature. Borowczyk’s choice to have Luciano Tovoli as his Cinematographer, truly, is what sets this – what could be your average nun-sploitation – into the realm of the sublime. Aside from Tovoli’s energetic camera , he also uses soft-focus - which only enhances the atmosphere to an almost dream-like feel. If you’ve only viewed Behind Convent Walls in its truncated form you’ll be thoroughly pleased with Cult Epic’s release, as it’s completely uncut – featuring the often excised “Nun and wooden dildo scene”. This scene is divine in its presentation, and is sure to make all God-fearing folk scramble for their rosary beads.
The picture quality of Cult Epics' release of Behind Convent Walls is very good. Their isn't any visible print damage and grain is at a bare minimum. The fact that this is the uncut version of the film , it's very impressive. This release is also in it's original aspect ratio, 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The audio is quite solid and unforgettable the organ music sounds clearer than ever before. You also have both Italian and English subtitle options.

Supplementary materials are featured on this disc as well : Behind The Walls (featurette), an interview with Cinematographer extraordinaire, Luciano Tovoli and a Photo and Lobby Card gallery. The Behind The Walls featurette isn't very long, but for that duration we are given many facts on Behind Convent Walls, Walerian Borowczyk's career and censorship. Borowczyk historians, Marc Morris, Sam Dunn and Daniel Bird provide great insight on the Polish filmmaker.

Behind Convent Walls gets first-rate treatment overall in this Cult Epics’ release.

Format: Color, DVD, Enhanced, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: English, French, Italian
Subtitles: English
Region: Region 1
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Cult Epics
DVD Release Date: March 30, 2010
Run Time: 95 minutes


  1. I have this edition, and I've been meaning to watch it. It's getting bumped up the list for right after Halloween.

  2. I've heard rumors of a Blu-Ray. Pretty sweet, if that's true.

  3. This is as good as this genre gets!