Directed and scripted by the great Jean-Pierre Melville, Léon Morin, Priest is based on the 1952 Prix Goncourt-winning novel The Passionate Heart by Béatrix Beck. The film stars the couple Jean-Paul Belmondo and Emmanuelle Riva as Léon Morin and Barny.
In a Nazi-occupied small village in France, Barny is a young and frustrated widow who fears for her half-Jewish little girl. Wayward and faithless, she decides to enter a church and provokes the handsome priest Léon Morin (Jean-Paul Belmondo) during confession. To her surprise, he turns out to be bright, open-minded and ready to discuss anything without taking offense. They develop a chaste yet deep relationship outside of the confessional. Slowly, Barny seems to turn towards God. Or, is it really just towards the handsome Priest?
Well received by both audiences and critics, Léon Morin, Priest was nominated for the Venice International Film Festival in 1961 and Belmondo was also nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor.
In French with English subtitles – Restored version