A Commentary on Monxa Mala: Part Two
by Rich Moreland, July 2019
Leticia’s single-mindedness and her strength are brought to light in the bedchamber where ointment is applied after her scourging. She says with grit, “I will leave this place . . . maybe broken up into pieces, but I’ll leave from here alive.”
Leticia’s pronouncement reverberates through the film as each novice/nun seeks a way to ameliorate her own situation.
The challenge for the viewer is to interpret what “leave alive” means. Is Jac Avila telling us that faith conquers death? Internal strength survives the pain of torture? Church oppression is never final?
Or, is Leticia offering us an undeniable feminist statement, thus transforming Monxa Mala into a feminist film? In other words, is paganism pro-woman because it flies in the face of Church patriarchy?
After all, some nuns get what they want, don’t they. . . ? Which brings us to the malleable Julia.
A Tidy Little Masochist
Julia is central to the film if one considers it to be a sadomasochistic horror tale with enough whipped backs and boobs to fascinate dedicated BDSMers. The novice is itching for her punishments and can mete out a bit of sadistic pleasure herself.
She uses the Father, seducing him in ways she knows will work. Julia confesses she is “a great sinner” who has “sinful thoughts about your Grace.” She fawns at his feet and extracts a kiss from him. The perfect toady. Important because another novice, the whipped Barbara, ends up on the wheel . . .
. . . and Lucrecia will endure the collar, then the rack.
By the way, when he kisses Julia, the Father pulls down her garment to bare her breasts, triggering her sexual excitement.
Julia’s conflation of pain and sex is well noted in the film. When Leticia’s bloody marks are being treated, Julia says, “Did it hurt very much?” Leticia replies, “You would have loved it.”
Later as Julia is being lashed by Barbara’s hand, Leticia walks in and watches with a half-smile. Julia closes her eyes in ecstasy and hardly flinches.
“Your dream becomes reality,” Leticia says with a degree of sarcasm.
“I’m doing my penance with humility,” Julia says softly, “but I don’t feel the pain.” She smiles with smug superiority.
Who is being manipulated here?
Julia is the masochistic delight of Monxa Mala so don’t miss her whipping scene on the ladder. She is arrogant in her own way when she says to the Father that it’s her turn “with the flagellum.” “My wish is to be whipped by your grace,” she declares, so there are no shackles or restraints. This is Julia’s fun and she gets another kiss for her submission.
The scene is back side/front side and a naked Stephanie Vargas is eye candy. We hope to see her in future films.
Beyond the Red Feline series, rarely has the Pachamama/Decadent library captured a better pure masochist on film.
By the way, Julia is a switch of sorts. Using the needle probe, she increases Leticia’s agony when she gets the chance. Just goes to show you that pain lovers can be feisty if the opportunity rises. The needle has a deeper meaning, however. Julia’s fascination with it is a thinly veiled comment on her own raging need for penetration of another sort.
Oh yes, there is something else this moment reveals. Competition and revenge festers among the women. During Julia’s earlier whipping, Leticia pokes her in the ribs with a nail used in crucifixion. Turnabout is fair play, is it not?
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