- Reviewed from the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.
A community of nuns in Hollywood come up against an overbearing patriarchal religious system in Pedro Kos’s ode to the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent. As the 1960s brought waves of urgent social justice causes, the sisters began to respond to a calling that reached beyond the limited structure of the Catholic Church.
They marched at Selma, marched against Vietnam, and fought for their own right to stop dressing in medieval fashion. Forbidden from depicting religious figures, one nun with a flair for art became a world-renowned artist. The nuns come up against the bloody-minded authoritarianism of a rigid cardinal, whose obsession with their evolving approach obscures any sense of the true meaning of Christianity.
Unfolding with a punchy pace, colourful archive and a riotous soundtrack including the titular song by First Aid Kit, Rebel Hearts embodies their passionate, revolutionary spirit. The rock’n’roll energy shifts gear to a more reflective pace that feels like a prolonged ending, but the story of these radical, fearless women is a refreshing portrait of when faith is used as a tool to care, not to control.
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