The Act of the Heart
|The Act of the Heart|
|Directed by||Paul Almond|
|Produced by||Paul Almond
|Written by||Paul Almond|
|Music by||Harry Freedman|
|Edited by||James Mitchell|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|25 November 1970 (USA)|
The Act of the Heart is a 1970 Canadian film written, directed and produced by Paul Almond.
Martha Hayes (Geneviève Bujold), a devoutly religious young woman from Québec's Côte-Nord who fancies herself as some kind of a saint, arrives in Montréal to serve as nanny to Russell (Bill Mitchell), the son of a widowed business woman (Monique Leyrac).
Martha joins a church choir and becomes emotionally attracted to Father Michael Ferrier (Donald Sutherland), an Augustian monk who has selected her to sing solo in an interfaith concert. When Russell accidentally dies, Martha suffers a crisis in faith and declares her love for Ferrier in the church. Ferrier reciprocates and leaves the order so they can live together with Martha singing to support them. But tormented by guilt for betraying her profound religious principles she immolates herself on a hill (Mount Royal) overlooking Montréal.
The second of three films by Almond featuring Bujold, it aroused considerable difference in opinion upon its release, but it stands nonetheless as a profound statement on the universal themes of ritual, sacrifice and purification. A disappointment at the box-office, it nevertheless won six Canadian Film Awards - including Direction (Almond) and Lead Actress (Bujold).
- "The Act of the Heart". Film Reference Library. 2003. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
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