The film start with the new viceroy and the new archbishopric talking about how to govern New Spain (Mexico), that they should try to work together unlike in Spain. They also say that it’s their duty to make sure New Spain is saved. However plans never really go as planned specially in this film. Then it goes to the convent to Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz and the nuns are having a meeting about the new viceroy and his visit to their convent. The nuns say the new viceroy also can’t wait to see Juana Ines de la Cruz and the nuns jump for joy it seems that Juan is the pride of the convent though all the nuns have the same reaction.
Then the film goes to one of Juana Ines de la Cruz’s plays and the Viceroy is watching as well as archbishopric. While the viceroy and his wife Maria Luisa are impressed with Juana the archbishopric make a comment regarding convent that it’s not a convent but a bordello (brothel). It seems that the new archbishopric is not impressed with Juana and the convent. After the play the archbishopric meets with a nun named Ursula and talk on the convent’s authority (abbess) will change.
The archbishopric also asks her to keep their meeting a secret and also asked her to name the nuns are be with them and against them. Nun Ursula says that there are three orders the pious, the Half hearted, and the stray sheep and then the archbishopric asked where those Juana fall into. While Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz has her fans she also has individuals that seek her down fall because of the way she thinks. There are other nuns that find out and ask Juana to run for the Abbess position and Juana says no because she can’t abound what she is working on (first dream).
Juana seems to not be afraid of who becomes the new abbess but her fellow nuns seem to be concern for Juana. The viceroy’s wife Maria Luisa pays a visit to Juana and their conversation is about the paths they have taken and how there similar. One has taken the path of the veil and the other has taken the path of marriage and how they are still trapped within the roles they have taken. The following scene is the viceroy, Maria Louisa, and other nobles are having a type of a get together. They are talking about how the archbishopric won’t sit in the same table with a woman.
Also how the archbishopric is chasing out women if they are not being proper in their roles. Maria Luisa is afraid for Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz because if the rchbishopric is attacking all the other women and how long before he attacks Juana Ines de la Cruz. The viceroy says that archbishopric will not dare attack Juana because she is under his protection. One of the men in the get together named Siguenza also an admirer of Juana compares her to Giordano Bruno how both were able to mix theology and philosophy.
Both read Lucretius and Erasmus and Juana is careful not to cite them. Siguenza also mentions what happen to Giordano Bruno for doing so he was burned live by the inquisition when he said Maria Luisa Fainted perhaps for fear for Juana suffering the same fate. It seems that Juana has powerful and it is no wonder Juana wasn’t afraid. One noticeable thing during this conversation was the entertainment the two midgets fight one another and dressed as in Indians and acting as barbaric the film does show how Indians were depicted.
Then we see father Miranda Juan’s confessor and he said that she is surrounded vanities and if she realizes the poems that she writes to the viceroy and his wife and people get the wrong idea. She says that her poems should not be twisted because the poems are meant as admiration and nothing more. Also that it shouldn’t matter because she has written many religious works and she gives examples Saint Pedro and virgin of Guadalupe. She also says that at the age of 13 it was he who told her she should follow the path of God to become a nun.
And that her love for literature would be better in service of God that he knew the way she was and that it was not compatible with the nun’s path, father Miranda says no to what she has state. She goes on to say that she loves to study what other way was there; the only choose was the convent. She didn’t want marriage because it would not be impossible to continue her study. And at the end of the confection the father asked her if she wanted to him to be her confer. During this scene one see how Juana feels and why she is a nun, she is very passionate for knowledge but it does look like she is lacking a strong religious of a traditional nun.
After this Juana is in her library with Maria Luisa and she make a comment about Juana’s library that it is must be the biggest one in the Americas. However she also noticed certain books that are considered dangerous in Spain some of does books were Descartes and Gassendi. Luisa also says that one dares to read these books in Spain Juana responded that they are far from Rome that they are in New Spain. Luisa says that they might be far from Rome but not from the inquisition and asks Juana to be careful with what she says to make sure it doesn’t look like she is attacking the church.
They also talk about the inquisition and that people suffer, humiliated, and killed. Juana says that the books she has are approved by father Miranda and that there is no problem with her books. Juana also find out that Maria Luisa in pregnant and Juana looks scared of it baffled on the subject of motherhood. Luisa asked Juana if she feels is missing out and Juana says no that she has everything she ever wanted. She says that her telescope, sundial, obsidian mirror, automation, astrolabe, lyre, magnets, and her writing that those were her children. And that not all women want the same thing and that for some solitude is what they want.
Now the time has come to vote in the abbess in the convent and the Ursula won and now is the new Abbess of the convent. The first thing that the new abbess did was to makes all the nuns give up their worldly positions. She noticed that one of her fellow nuns wasn’t there so she went to look for Juana. Ursula found Juana in her library and tells her she must do the same she must give up what she holds dear. Unknown to Ursula the viceroy’s wife was the in the room and Maria Luisa protects Juana’s work and books by saying that her works pleases God and her writing is the glory of the convent.
The protection of Maria Luisa prevents Ursula from getting rid of Juana’s books. Now the viceroy and Maria had their baby is born and when Juana found out and she is more concern with Maria Luisa well being then with the baby. Juana as a flashback when she was 17 years old and the viceroy of that time was impressed with Juana and takes from Chimalhuacan to Mexico City where she was put in front of a panel of professors. All the professors asked their own question and all were imprested to say the least. And after the test one of the professors kissed her when she alone and that she won’t find it in any book.
She then kissed him and said it was so she could remember. During the questions we see that Juana is very knowledgeable but there is also an absence in religion. The following scenes a group of nuns break into Juana’s room and copy her work and give it to the archbishopric. And the archbishopric and a group of priest were reading her work and criticized her. However one of the priests was Juana’s Confessor Father Miranda and he said that her work should not be taken in out of context and it only shows admiration to the viceroy and his wife.
But the archbishopric is not convinced and he closed Juana’s library, Juana goes to her library and finds that two men are sealing it. And Ursula warns her not to break the seal, Juana then tell her to inform the archbishopric that she will continue learning without her books that nothing could ever stop her. She gives some examples on how it is going to keep learning like studying the sky, grass, and the kitchen. This shows her dedication and passion for learning and it does show in my opinion the lack or strong religious presences in Juana. Juana asks for help to get her books back she goes to her confessor father Miranda.
Then she goes to the viceroy and says he see what he can get her books back. However the viceroy gets news that he will be replace soon and the new viceroy is coming and he can’t do anything. And if things weren’t worse Juana gets a letter from her home town saying that her mother is ill and is dying. Juana goes to her mother and when she is at her bedside. They talk about why she choose the path she did. She couldn’t think about marriage because it would make her miserable without her books that the only choose she had was to become a nun just so she could keep studying.
Juana has another flashback when she dressed as a boy and asked her mother to send er to school; her mother says to take it off. Juana responded to her mother with if I can’t learn as a boy then I will dress as a nun. Again it shows how dedicated she is to her studies even as a young girl. When she returns to the convent finds herself in trouble with the archbishopric because of something she wrote and was never supposed to be published. And when the archbishopric confronts her with two priests and to no affect he will not listen to her and condemns her and her writing.
The convent is hit with a plague and Juana was taking care of the nuns that are ill. While the other nuns are begging to God for forgiveness in the rain and at the same time they are whipping their backs, which are bleeding. Then father Miranda sees Juana taking care of the other nuns and asked how she is doing and they start talking. Juana feels somehow guilty about what is happing to the convent. Father Miranda doesn’t disagree with her he says that God wants a different Juana, a Juana that is devoted to God. He says the she should get rid of all her books and possessions.
She watches her library being dismantle everything that she had gone. The end she is in front of all the nuns and apologizes to all that she is living in the convent without truly being religious and that is what makes her the worst of all. There was a poem in the main menu of the film which could sum up her life I am not who you think I am But you have given me Another being with your pens Another breath through your lips, And unlike my own self I wander among your pens, Not as I really am But as you want me to be.
This shows that Juana’s choose to be a nun so she could study, she would put on the veil without ruly being devoted to God. The film overall was quite enjoyable to watch and in my opinion it did depicted Juana Ines de la Cruz accurately. The film showed how Juana might have been she was passionate about her work and the hunger for knowledge. Also the film shows how Juana was in the beginning was the pride of the convent to her down fall. And it shows how the nuns’ lives in the convent, the nuns are always inside the convent.
And it seems that new ideas that came from women were not every much welcome in the seventeen century. In the document “Sor Juana Ines e la Cruz’s letter to Sor Filotea” (1691) Juana writes to her friend about her life about how she loved to study and her only choose so she can keep learning was to become a nun. One thing that stuck me was in the film Sor Filotea was the name that the archbishopric used to betray Juana and to bring her down fall. Although in the document (Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz’s letter to Sor Filotea) the bishop of Puebla Manuel Fernandez de Santa Cruz wrote as Sor Filotea and was friends with Juana.
This calls into question on reliability of the movie, also when Juana kisses the ne of the professors after she was tested in Mexico City and later when she kisses the viceroy’s wife Maria Luisa calls into question the accuracy of the film. Also if one wants to compare to Saint Rosa of Lima to Juana Ines de la Cruz they are very different women. In the document “Santa Rosa of Lima according to a pious accountant” (1617) a description on her life and how she was devoted to God. She cut her hair, poured cold water on her body, pushed her body to its limits; how she wore a crown of thorns in essence she punished herself.
This was viewed as a virtues woman and an orthodox life for a nun even though she never became a nun and the people of Peru adored her. Here we have a woman that would be considered crazy in modern time been adored in the seventeen century. While Juana had been discourage form writing for doing a men’s job in those times even if she did it better. Juana was a extraordinary woman and it was a shame that she was criticized for not playing the traditional role of a nun for thinking and doing things that were unorthodox for women.