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“Saint Rose” is in Irish Cinemas This Weekend!

Obviously release schedules have been a bit of mess this year with the pandemic on-going. As a result, international release dates are staggered. Irish cinemas are reopening for the first time in months, and Saint Maud is now screening.

Rose Glass’ blackly comic horror film is one of my favourite films of the year to date, and so is deserving of a shoutout. You can read the original review from the Dublin International Film Festival here, or you can pick the picture below.

Non-Review Review: Saint Maud

This film was seen as part of the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2020. Given the high volumes of films being shown and the number of reviews to be written, these may end up being a bit shorter than usual reviews.

“Pain is precious,” intones the title character towards the third act of Saint Maud. “You shouldn’t waste it.”

Rose Glass’ debut feature is a delightfully weird genre hybrid, existing at some strange intersection of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and The Exorcist that just happens to unfold in Scarborough. It is hard to summarise exactly what Saint Maud is, in terms of genre. At times, it plays like that most maligned of genres, the “elevated horror” that favours slow-mounted dread over cheap thrills. At other points, it is an intensely intimate psychological thriller and character study. Occasionally, it pivots sharply into surreal black comedy. It is never one or the other, and the film’s deft balance is a credit to Glass as writer and director.

Still, at its core, Saint Maud is ultimately a tale of repression and rapture, religious devotion wrestling with carnal desire. It is a film in which the contortions of the flesh associated with divine position are juxtaposed with the use of the body as an instrument by dancers. Over the course of Saint Maud, bodies writhe in pleasure that emanates from sources both spiritual and physical. Indeed, the spiritual and physical often collapse into one another over the course of the film, inviting the audience to try to draw a clean line of separation between two ideas that are so closely intertwined.

Saint Maud is an unsettling, warped and clever little film that is worth seeking out. It is also worth seeing blind, in so much as that might be possible.

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