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Screening series brings ‘Novitiate’ to Middlebury

Directed with great sensitivity by Margaret Betts, “Novitiate” takes place in the Vatican II era in the early 1960’s, as radical theological changes in the Catholic Church threaten the course of nuns’ lives. As young Cathleen progresses from postulant to novitiate within the fraught confines of a cloistered community, her faith is repeatedly challenged by the harsh, often inhumane realities of being a servant of God.  The film masterfully portrays the powerful attraction of a religious vocation and why, at such a tender age, young women would willingly embrace its rigors.
With outstanding performances from Margaret Qualley, Julianne Nicholson and the incomparable Melissa Leo, as the Reverend Mother, “Novitiate” offers an exceptional view of a world in change.  As Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times noted, “‘Novitiate’ sure-handedly takes us inside the world of belief with care, concern and a piercing, discerning eye.”
The “Novitiate” screening will be introduced by Jay Parini, D.E. Axinn Professor of English and Creative Writing at Middlebury College, and the author of “Jesus: The Human Face of God” and an upcoming novel on the life of St. Paul the Apostle, along with numerous other novels, biographies, poetry collections and essays. Parini will also moderate a Q&A session following the screening of “Novitiate.”
Expanding to six films from five this season, the MNFF Winter Screening Series has offered a distinctive feature every month since December and will continue through May.  The series retains an exclusive focus on prominent work by first and second time filmmakers.
Coming up on April 7 at the MNFF Winter Screening Series will be the marvelous  Oscar nominated drama “Lady Bird,” directed by Greta Gerwig.  More details to come.
Trailers and additional information for all films in the Winter Screening Series are available at middfilmfest.org.      
Individual tickets are $12 and are available at middfilmfest.org, or at the Town Hall Theater Box Office, either in person (Monday-Saturday, 12-5 p.m.), by phone at (802) 382-9222 or online at townhalltheater.org/calendar-and-tickets.

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