Screening of Black Narcissus (1947), Monday the 4th of November, 6-8pm, the Lupino

Ahead of Paul Mazey’s research seminar on choral music in 1940s British films on the 6th of November (please see the previous post), Black Narcissus (Powell and Pressburger, 1947, 102 mins) will be screened on campus. This will take place on Monday the 4th of November, 6-8pm, in the Lupino.

Frequent collaborators director Michael Powell and writer Emeric Pressburger  adapted Black Narcissus from Rumer Godden’s 1939 novel about a group of nuns who set up a school and hospital in the Himalayas.  Members of the cloistered, and isolated, female community (played by Deborah Kerr, Kathleen Byron, Flora Robson et al) face traumatic pasts, present struggles, and uncertain futures. These suffering women speak to the core of melodrama. In addition, these women’s religious training means that they repress their feelings, though these inevitably bubble to the surface. Such a structure closely relates to the rhythm often seen in melodrama. Godden’s narrative is afforded additional power by film, as images and sounds contribute effectively to its claustrophobic atmosphere and its ratcheting up of tensions.

The BBC is currently producing Black Narcissus as a Television mini-series. The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) describes this as an adaptation of the 1947 film, rather than Godden’s novel. This indicates not just the narrative’s continued relevance, but the impact of  Powell and Pressburger’s Technicolor film.

The film  is being screened by the Lupino Film Club, part of the Film, Media and Culture Research Group.  The Lupino Film Club screens films every Monday night, starting at 6pm. More information about upcoming films can be found on the research group’s blog:


The sceenings are free and open to all.