I have just finished watching Black Narcissus by The Archers, Powell & Pressburger.

Overall the film didn’t engage me like their other collaborations or solo work, and I found the treatment of the subject matter (repressed sexuality, temptation, tests of faith etc..) a little heavy-handed and lacking the subtle ambiguity usually found in their other work (A Matter of Life and Death and The Red Shoes are personal favourites of mine). One aspect of the film though which is immune from my rather vague and unqualified criticism is the rich and beautiful visual style – Alfred Junge and Jack Cardiff rightly took home oscars for Art Direction and Colour Cinematography respectively.

I don’t feel I can write an honest and impartial review of the film until I have watched it again, but for now I can attempt to showcase some of the incredible set design, lighting and cinematography found within. Here are some of the beautiful images of Black Narcissus.

I’m not writing the film off completely. One thing I have learned about films by The Archers is that repeat viewings often throw up new ideas, subtleties and details, so I hope to watch the film again soon. When I do, I will attempt to write a review. Until then, I hope you can enjoy these beautiful images.

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