Dark Habits (1983)

Directed by
Reviewed by Simon 11/11/2021
Reviewed by Simon on 2021-11-11

After her junkie boyfriend dies from tainted heroin she supplied a singer named Yolanda seeks refuge in a convent that is struggling financially since the widow of a rich patron pulled their funding.

This early film sees Almodóvar still finding his feet a bit, but already shows him to be a unique voice with a distinctive visual style and a strong connection with his actresses. The few remaining nuns are an eccentric bunch of misfits, each with their own reason for withdrawing from conventional society.

Despite the setting religion is generally not foregrounded in the film, with secular concerns being of more import to the characters and the plot. The nuns' conduct might ultimately be scandalous to the more traditional church members but Almodóvar is entirely sympathetic to them. After all, were it not for sinners God's forgiveness would be of no value, and by exhibiting more of it than their more pious colleagues these women are perhaps closer to godliness themselves.

Whilst Almodóvar's pet themes and style would be more fully realised in What Have I Done To Deserve This? the following year, DARK HABITS does show his growing ability to express his love for society's outcasts and transgressors in a cinematic form.