Many years ago - 1963, to be precise - a song came out, and it quickly became popular all over the world. Perhaps you remember it, if you happened to be around during that time. It has a catchy melody that went "Dominique, nique, nique..." -- perhaps one of the most famous melodies of all time. I remember it being used by the marching bands from almost every high school in my city. Well, even though the song became a hit, I never thought about the singer - until now. The remarkable and unforgettable "Sister Smile - The Tragic Tale of the Singing Nun" tells us the story of this famous tune as well as its creator.
The original name of this Italian film is "Sour Sorriso," and it is directed by Roger Deutsch, who tried to follow the steps of Janine, the singer, and put together and speculative story about what happened to her. It begins with young Janine (Ginevra Colonna) taking only her guitar, secretly leaving home, and joining a convent. While there, she becomes popular due to her talent as a singer. She is persuaded by the other nuns to record her song. She successfully gets a record deal, and "Dominique" becomes an instant hit. However, just when things could not be better in her life, she unexpectedly leaves the convent. It is then that we realize that she is a troubled soul. She then finds shelter in a place that houses young women with addiction problems, and where she falls for Clara (Simona Caparrini), its manager. Again, just when we think that Janine has finally found happiness, she leaves the shelter, and a heart-broken Clara. Janine goes back home with her father, which apparently has great influence on her, and with whom she has a weird relationship. But, following a sad and tormented trend, she leaves home and continues a path of self-destruction.
"Sister Smile - The Tragic Tale of the Singing Nun" is a quite unique film that would have gone unnoticed if it weren't for MVD Visual's vision in distributing it. It catches the life of an artistic genius that, like many, inexplicably is absorbed by the dark side. But, despite that, I can guarantee that when you finish watching this film, you will be singing "Dominique, nique, nique..." That is precisely what I have been doing all day long today before writing this piece. The DVD includes "Dead People" and "Mario Makes a Movie," two short films by director Deutsch. (Italy, 2001, color, 95 min plus additional material)
Reviewed exclusively by Eric Gonzales on February 27, 2011