5th October 2019 9.15pm at Vue West End
6th October 2019 12.45pm at Vue West End
6th October 2019 1.15pm at Vue West End
Saint Maud offers a striking spectacle of religious fanaticism with its sinful story of a saintly woman receding into madness. Whether Rose Glass’s debut horror feature homes in on the dangers of a wildly zealous woman or simply tracks a palliative nurse’s deteriorating grasp on reality remains unclear in this gripping, stunning and constantly stomach-curdling film.
The film opens with Maud (Morfydd Clark) hunched in the corner and trembling at the sight of a corpse dangling from a medical bed with blood cascading down its hair. The gruelling yet seductive image lays the groundwork for the horrifically beautiful scenes to come. Little does the young nurse know that this image bears a striking resemblance to the iconic dancer Amanda Kohle (Jennifer Ehle), who happens to be her next patient.
Kohl lives in an eerily empty mansion isolated from an already isolated town. Here, Maud deciphers God’s previously unclear plan. She is destined to save her patient’s soul before it moves from this world to the next. The restrained lighting illuminates the desolate and cold halls, which echo with the sound of Amanda’s lighter endlessly burning up a cigarette. The incandescence adds a rich layer to the slow-burning film’s psychological fabric.
Clark’s and Ehle’s performances writhe up against one another as they play two equally cold but adamantly opposed women. Their battle of the soul, fought with pursed lips and slight controlling manoeuvres, makes the mind wince with its tightness. Clark’s wispy hair is reminiscent of her favourite self-abnegating Saint Mary Magdalene: one of many instances of religious iconography which elevate the bewitching journey of a crazed God-fearing woman.
Glass flaunts her unflinching directorial prowess and attention to detail as she teases out tenacious star performances against a highly symbolic visual backdrop. She unapologetically bends the mind of her audience into shock and submission as she captures Maud’s gruesomely ascetic lifestyle in this doomed tale of earthly sinners.
Saint Maud does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.