Inquiring Nuns

Followed by a Skype Q&A with the director

Getting its first ever cinema release, on a newly restored 16mm print for its 50th Anniversary is this beloved gem of pure cinéma vérité in which Sister Marie Arné and Sister Mary Campion tour Chicago during the Summer of Love, asking: “are you happy?”

They meet a lonely girl, a happy mother, young lovers, hippie musicians, a sociologist, and even the actor Lincoln Perry, better known as the infamous Stepin Fetchit, now on hard times. The interviewees are sometimes taken aback, nervous, or clamoring to get into view of the camera. Each interview is a complete and thoughtful piece of the person’s life, with no intercutting. The humor and sadness of these honest encounters lift the film beyond its experimental conceit into a serious and moving inquiry into contemporary society and the circumstances under which people examine their lives.

One of the earliest examples of Kartemquin co-founders Gordon Quinn and Gerald Temaner’s exploration into the world of cinéma vérité, Inquiring Nuns captures the attitudes, fears, and dreams of everyday Chicagoans, giving audiences and researchers insight into the political and social climate of 1960’s Chicago. The film’s music is composed by Philip Glass in his first credited film score.

The screening of the original film will be followed by a filmed interview with the nuns 40 years later.

“A delight… an engaging portrait of its two hosts and, more indirectly, of the filmmakers guiding them.” – Glenn Kenny, New York Times

BBFC rating
Running time
90 mins
Other features
Gordon Quinn & Jerry Temaner

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July 11th

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