The Little Hours is the latest film from writer and director Jeff Baena. The 90 minute comedy is based on the collection of novellas The Decameron by 14th century Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio, though no knowledge of these stories is needed to enjoy this tale of debauchery. The film’s strong comedic line up features Aubrey Plaza, Alison Brie, Kate Miucci, John C. Riley, Molly Shannon, Dave Franco, Fred Armisen, Jemima Kirke, and Nick Offerman.
The film tells the story of Sisters Alessandra (Brie), Fernanda (Plaza), and Ginevra (Miucci) as they subvert all preconceptions of the obedient bride of Christ. Alessandra desperately wants to bet married. Ginevra is a world class tattle-tale. Fernanda’s aura of mystery screams something wonderful… or something rather depraved. New hired hand Massetto (Franco) poses as a deaf mute and inadvertantly becomes the new centre of the nuns’ deception and sexual deviance. Even the Mother Superior Sister Marea (Shannon) and Father Tommasso (Riley) are far from the expected pillars of the community. Overall the convent is a place of straightup mayhem. Bishop Bartolomeo’s (Armisen) arrival to the convent challenges the lax rules and forces some serious changes.
The performances in The Little Hours are completely deadpan despite the depravity even down to the convent’s donkey who can be a bit of a scene stealer as it stands looking bored, filling its role as everyone’s excuse for heading outside the convent walls. Baena’s drawing from European exploitation films creates an additional contrast to the action, setting everything against picturesque scenery that makes you want to run off to 14th century Italy. Just don’t ever take nightshade. Seriously, just don’t. Or eat blood for that matter.
The Little Hours feautures language, nudity and medieval drugs so isn’t a film for all tastes. For those interested it is a perfect flick completely submerge in the ridiculousness of.
Lara Bendeich, like these ladies would make a terrible nun as she perhaps a little too partial to a cocktail.
Read our guide to the top five films at the Sydney Film Festival.
The 64th Sydney Film Festival runs from 7-18 June 2017 at various locations. Entry prices vary. Purchase tickets at www.sff.org.au.
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