Archive of films Black Narcissus / Black Narcissus

United Kingdom
1947, 102 min

Section: Tribute to Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
Year: 2010

Awarded two Oscars, this psychological drama with an intense erotic charge tells the story of a group of English nuns (portrayed, among others, by Deborah Kerr and Kathleen Byron) whose efforts to transform a former harem into a hospital and school high in the Himalayas come up against the sensuous atmosphere of a world shrouded in mystery.


This 1947 psychological drama deserves an honored place in British film history not only for its exceptional camerawork (Jack Cardiff won an Oscar) but also as one of the first films with an intensely erotic charge. Rumer Godden’s novel served as the literary basis for a story about a group of English nuns who undertake a journey to a remote Himalayan village. There they attempt to convert the palace of an Oriental ruler into a hospital and a school for local children. Guided by strict rules, the community of nuns comes up against the sensuous atmosphere of the mysterious high mountain location that once served an autocratic rajah as a harem. With the emphasis on the conflict between discipline and passion, Powell and Pressburger anticipate the central theme of The Red Shoes, but in the present case involving the controversial theme of nuns’ suppressed desires, they make greater use of the mystical power of the landscape (as in I Know Where I’m Going!). Production designer Alfred Junge also won an Oscar, and he and Cardiff deserve the lion’s share of the credit for creating the illusion of breathtaking Himalayan scenery at London’s Pinewood Studios.


Park Circus Limited
15 Woodside Crescent, G37UL, Glasgow
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 141 332 2175
Fax: +44 141 332 2133

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Tribute to Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
Director: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Screenplay: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger podle stejnojmenného románu Rumer Goddenové / based on the novel of the same name by Rumer Godden
Dir. of Photography: Jack Cardiff
Music: Brian Easdale
Editor: Reginald Mills
Producer: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Production: The Archers
Cast: Deborah Kerr, Kathleen Byron, David Farrar, Jean Simmons, Sabu
Contact: Park Circus Limited

© 2021 FILM SERVIS FESTIVAL KARLOVY VARY, a.s. +420 221 411 011 All contacts

CinemasCinemas PartnersPartners
ProgramProgram About the projectAbout the project
HistoryHistory GalleryGallery
HistoryHistory ContactsContacts
Archive of filmsArchive of films KVIFF TalksKVIFF Talks
Industry Days July 5 - July 8Industry Days July 5 - July 8 ContactsContacts
VideogalleryVideogallery GalleryGallery
HistoryHistory Festival GuideFestival Guide