SUNKEN CONVENT, THE. A DISTURBING GRIPPING TALE BASED ON HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSON’S STORY
Sunken Convent, The. Film Details
Director: Michael Panduro
Writer: Michael Panduro
Release Date: 2017
Release Format: Film Festivals
MPAA Rating: N/A
Running Time: 15 min
A man wakes up, he goes to work, he eats in, he does a bit of home surgery, he drives to the woods. Told without words and inspired by Hans Christian Andersen, ‘The Sunken Convent’ is a grotesque and slightly surreal story of bad habits.
The Sunken Convent is a Danish short film written and directed by Michael Panduro. The film is inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s story of the same name.
In Anderson’s tale, a traveling magician approaches a convent during a storm, seeking shelter but the Abbess refuses him and doesn’t let her nuns to help him either. One nun though prayed for him and was mocked by the others. The magician punishes their cruelty by sinking the convent into the sea, including the innocent nun. The young nun’s paramour, a good knight, finds the convent gone and cries to see her once more.
A voice makes him a promise that as long as he comes at the same time every evening, a red ribbon will allow him to pull her from the sea for a short visit, but no one can see them together. On a full moon night, a traveler spies at them and the nun returns to the sea… In a panic, the knight throws himself into the water after her and drowns.
In Panduro’s deeply darkest version of The Sunken Convent (Det Sjunkne Kloster), the knight is portrayed by Claus Flygare where we follow him in his twisted routine. It has won many awards and has been selected to at least thirty film festivals around the world.
The Sunken Convent is an ambitious short film by going with no dialogues and being deeply disturbing. It has some disgusting scenes that are so hard to watch that you actually can’t watch away because you’re definitely drawn to Flygare’s character routine and Panduro’s reinterpretation of Anderson’s story.
After knowing about Hans Christian Anderson’s version of it, The Sunken Convent has at its core a beautiful story. Alas, it’s really difficult to go there as we witness so much boredom of the character’s routine with his apartment decoration’s being pale and inexpressive and his twisted ways of hurting himself and searching for his loved one in the woods. When he finally gets the opportunity to see her one more time, it’s really not what you would imagine happening. It’s the darkest way possible. Panduro really went far away with the bad habits of the lead character.
As the viewer, we witness his descent to darkness and we’re almost at the same position as one neighbor who keeps looking through a creak of his door – watching Flygare’s character every movement. Panduro puts us in a voyeur position and it perfectly draws the line between right and wrong, we wonder if what we’re watching is acceptable or even if we should be watching it.
When you think about how the story is portrayed it’s really an astonishing work from Panduro and his team. It really shows how much Panduro engages the viewer with no dialogue though with so much power in detail and storytelling.
If you’re into practical effects, you won’t be disappointed. There’s a scene that I won’t spoiler but left my mouth dry – not that it’s full of gore but its intentions are powerful.
The Sunken Convent tells the story of an old man’s bad habits that come to life in a twisted version of Hans Christian Anderson’s tale. How should we be able to separate what’s right or wrong when we’re alone and completely drawn to our own bad habits? Michael Panduro, writer, and director of The Sunken Convent explores this theme by giving us the best disturbing piece of art you’ll watch in a while. You’ve been warned.