Jean-Paul Belmondo dons clerical robes and delivers a subtly sensual performance for the hot-under-the-collar Léon Morin, Priest, directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. The French superstar plays a devoted man of the cloth who is the crush object of all the women of a small village in Nazi-occupied France. He finds himself most drawn to a sexually frustrated widow-played by Emmanuelle Riva-a borderline heretic whose relationship with her confessor is a confrontation with both God and her own repressed desire. A triumph of mood, setting, and innuendo, Léon Morin, Priest is an irreverent pleasure from one of French cinema's towering virtuosos.
Archival interview with director Jean-Pierre Melville and actor Jean-Paul Belmondo
Visual essay by French film scholar Ginette Vincendeau