This critically acclaimed moral drama is taken from a book written in 1760 by Denis Diderot. Suzanne (Anna Karina) is an intelligent, freedom-loving woman who is forced into a convent against her will. The fact that she was sired by a man who is not her mother's husband -- and that a suitable dowry cannot be paid for her -- bring her to the church.
Suzanne endures continual harassment from one Mother Superior (Micheline Presle). Transferred to a different convent, she becomes subject to lesbian leanings from another Mother Superior (Liselotte Pulver), who flees with a priest (Francisco Rabal) who says he too was forced into a life of religion.
The controversial subject matter caused the feature to be banned for two years, despite assurances to director Jacques Rivette by censors. The subsequent ban helped the film (shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1966) gain more recognition.
Rivette's cynical references to Catholicism as the ultimate theater enraged the Catholic Film Office, the agency that spearheaded the opposition to the film.