Bit of a nun-binge, after Benedetta. This is the absolute opposite.

A young nun leaves the convent for the first time, just before pledging her vows, to visit her only relative, an aunt that lives alone in a city. She’s not too excited to leave, but she obeys the mother superior.

As she arrives, while some random men gets dressed on the other room, the aunt greets her with disdain and makes sure the nuns didn’t spill the beans about her life.

As the man leaves, the aunt just flatly announces they are Jewish and her parents were killed during the war. After letting that linger in the air, they decide to go look for their burial site and move their remains to a family plot.

Apparently the aunt is an expert at this kind of investigation, since she just steamrolls over everyone that gives her no for an answer. They get to the bottom of things, no matter what. This includes drinking herself into a stupor and stick the car into a ditch.

As they search for their family, they meet a travelling saxophonist, which plays the classics on they hotel. Our nun is reserved and doesn’t go into bars, but after quarrelling with her drunken aunt, she goes down for the after-hours Coltrane jam.

After a while they find her parents, whatever remains from them, and move them to the family plot. This required cajoling some people and unearthing information that was better hidden. The aunt is devastated, particularly because she thinks it was her fault they died, and because their only daughter is about to “throw her life away” by locking up in a convent for ever.

The aunt drops her off in the convent and realises casual sex and hard liquor are not cutting it anymore. More drastic measures are required.

When she returns to the convent, just in time for the vows, she gives up on that, for she has tasted liberty. It’s no longer bearable to just help other nuns wash up without lustful thoughts, the seed of curiosity has been planted.

After her aunt’s demise, her throwaway though remained with her: “if you never tasted liberty, what sacrifice is being caged forever” (paraphrasing). And so, she tries to mimic her aunt’s behaviour for a while. Drinking, smoking, consorting with the jazz musician.

But it’s not her life. When he proposes she tags along on a tour through Poland, she runs back to the safeness of the convent. She tasted liberty, and found it wanting.


This is my place for ramblings about sequences of images that exploit the human visual limitation know as persistence of vision.

Ephemera of Vision