Fontevraud Abbey

The Royal Abbey of Our Lady of Fontevraud or Fontevrault was a monastery in the village of Fontevraud-l'Abbaye, near Chinon, in the former French duchy of Anjou. It was founded in 1101 by the itinerant preacher Robert of Arbrissel; the foundation became the center of a new monastic Order, the Order of Fontevrault. This order was composed of double monasteries, in which the community consisted of both men and women—in separate quarters of the abbey—all of which were subject to the authority of the Abbess of Fontevraud; the Abbey of Fontevraud itself consisted of four separate communities, all managed by the same abbess. The first permanent structures were built between 1110 and 1119; the area where the Abbey is located was part of what is sometimes referred to as the Angevin Empire. The King of England, Henry II, his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, son, King Richard the Lionheart were all buried here at the end of the 12th century, it was disestablished as a monastery during the French Revolution. The Abbey is situated in the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, between Chalonnes-sur-Loire and Sully-sur-Loire within the Loire-Anjou-Touraine French regional natural park.

The complex of monastic buildings served as a prison from 1804 to 1963. Since 1975, it has hosted the Centre Culturel de l'Ouest. Robert of Arbrissel had served as the Archpriest of the Diocese of Rennes, carrying out the reformist agenda of its bishop; when the bishop died in 1095, Robert was driven out of the diocese due to the hostility of the local clergy. He became a hermit in the forest of Craon, where he practiced a life of severe penance, together with a number of other men who went on to found major monastic institutions, his eloquence and asceticism attracted many followers, for whom in 1096 he founded a monastery of canons regular at La Roë, of which he was the first abbot. In that same year Pope Urban II summoned him to Angers and appointed him an apostolic missionary, authorizing him to preach anywhere, his preaching drew large crowds of devoted followers, both men and women lepers. As a result, many men wished to embrace the religious life; when the canons of that house objected to the influx of candidates of lower social states, he resigned his office and left the community.

Around 1100 Robert and his followers settled in a valley called Fons Ebraldi where he established a monastic community. The men and women lived together in the same house, in an ancient ascetic practice called Syneisaktism; this practice had been condemned by Church authorities and under pressure the community soon segregated according to gender, with the monks living in small priories where they lived in community in service to the nuns and under their rule. They were recognized as a religious community in 1106, both by the Bishop of Angers and by Pope Paschal II. Robert, who soon resumed his life of itinerant preaching, appointed Hersende of Champagné to lead the community, her assistant, Petronilla of Chemillé, was elected as the first abbess in 1115. Robert wrote a brief Rule of Life based upon the Rule of St. Benedict. Unlike the other monastic orders characterized by double monasteries, the monks and nuns of the Order of Fontevrault followed the same Rule. In his Rule, Robert dealt with four principal points: silence, good works and clothing, encouraging the utmost in simplicity of life and dress.

He directed that the abbess should never be chosen from among those, brought up at Fontevrault, but that she should be someone who had had experience of the world. This latter injunction was observed only in the case of the first two abbesses and was canceled by Pope Innocent III in 1201. At the time of Robert's death in 1117, there were about 3,000 nuns in the community. In the early years the Plantagenets were great benefactors of the abbey and while Isabella d'Anjou was the abbess, King Henry II's widow, Eleanor of Aquitaine, made the abbey her place of residence. Abbess Louise de Bourbon left her crest on many of the alterations to the abbey building which she made during her term of office. With the passing of the Plantagenet dynasty Fontevrault and her dependencies began to fall upon hard times. At the end of the 12th century, the Abbess of Fontevrault, Matilda of Flanders, complained about the extreme poverty which the abbey was suffering; as a result, in 1247 the nuns were permitted to receive inheritances to provide income for their needs, contrary to monastic custom.

The fragile economic basis of the Order was exacerbated by the devastation of the Hundred Years War, which lasted throughout the 14th century. A canonical visitation of fifty of the priories of the Order in 1460 showed most of them to be occupied, if not abandoned; the Order was dispersed during the French Revolution. In November 1789, all property of the Catholic Church was declared to be the property of the nation. On 17 August 1792, a Revolutionary decree ordered evacuation of all monasteries, to be completed by 1 October 1792. At that time, there were still some 200 nuns and a small community of monks in residence at Fontevraud; the last abbess, Julie Sophie Charlotte de Pardaillan d'Antin, is said to have died in poverty in Paris in 1797. The abbey became a prison in 1804; the prison was planned to hold 1,000 prisoners, the former abbey required major changes, including new barracks in addition to the transformation of monastic buildings into dormitories and common areas. Prisoners–-men and children-–began arriving in 1814.

It held some 2,000 prisoners, earning the prison the reputation of being the "toughest in France after Clairvaux". Politic

Shirley Gee

Shirley Gee was a British playwright. She married actor Donald Gee on 30 January 1965, she lived in Chelsea from 1965 to 2009. She lived in Putney, London with her husband, until her death. Never In My Lifetime won the Samuel Beckett Award, 1985 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the 1983 BBC Giles Cooper Award, she won the 1979 BBC Giles Cooper Award, for Typhoid Mary. Ask For The Moon. Faber and Faber. 1987. ISBN 978-0-571-13875-3. 1986 Never In My Lifetime. Samuel French, Inc. 1993. ISBN 978-0-573-69475-2. 1984 Typhoid Mary, 1983 Warrior. Samuel French Ltd. 1991. ISBN 978-0-573-01931-9. 1989 Best Radio Plays of 1979. Methuen. 1980. ISBN 978-0-413-47130-7. Wally K. Daly, ed.. Best Radio Plays of 1983. Methuen. ISBN 978-0-413-55220-4. Stones, 1974. Long Live the Babe, 1984, Flights, 1985; the continuing brutality of the conflict between the English and the Irish is captured with empathetic awareness in Shirley Gee's Never in My Lifetime. The play, winner of the 1984 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, is having its American premiere here by the Hartman Theater Company.

As expected, there are no martyrs in this war-torn stretch of Northern Ireland. Everyone becomes his brother's enemy.... Ms. Gee's work is distinguished by a certain lyricism. We believe in the attachment between this young couple and we hope - without encouragement - that their life might be different as the two of them are manipulated by loyalties of family and country. Shirley Gee, doollee Shirley Gee Radio Plays

Female Vampire

Female Vampire is a European horror film written, co-edited by Jesús Franco. It was produced in 1973, but was only theatrically distributed in 1975; the film is set in Europe and stars actress Lina Romay as Irina von Karlstein, a vampire who has sex with both male and female victims. In an unusual variation of the vampire myth, Karlstein performs oral sex on her victims until they die, draining them of their sexual fluids. Three versions of the film were shot: straight horror, horror mixed with sex, a hardcore pornography version. Franco's original title for the film was The Bare Breasted Countess, but it was released under many different titles over the years. To assuage Franco, the film was screened as The Bare Breasted Countess at the 2009 Fantastic Fest in the United States, which Franco attended as guest of honor; the film's title was changed to Female Vampire for its DVD release. The plot revolves around Countess Irina von Karlstein, a mute woman who needs sex like a vampire needs blood in order to stay alive.

Without speaking, the Countess is able to hypnotize victims and lure them into transfixed erotic acts. In addition, she is able to fly from the scene due to her bat-changing abilities; when new victims are found fatally drained of potency, left scattered around the town, forensic scientist Dr. Roberts consults his colleague, Dr. Orloff, who confirms that a vampire is responsible. A female journalist and few others meet with the Countess and confront her about her ties to vampires in her family. While the Countess tells the truth and admits that she is a vampire, few remain living to report the truth and warn other townspeople; the countess is confronted by a psychic investigator who believes he is destined to become her lover and join her among the immortals. In director Jesús Franco's productions from 1972 and onward, his films became more inclined towards themes involving female sex and zoom in shots on female genitalia. After the death of Franco's previous preferred lead actress Soledad Miranda, he cast 19-year-old actress Lina Romay as the Countess Irina.

Romay was more open about her sexuality than Miranda, which allowed Franco to focus on his more sex-based themes in his films. Franco made three different versions of the film.... A straight vampire film called La comtesse noire, a horror-oriented erotic film entitled La Comtesse aux seins nus, the hardcore pornography version Les avaleuses; these 3 versions ran at 72 minutes, 82 minutes, 96 minutes respectively. Franco felt. Franco compared the use of sex in his films to the film In the Realm of the Senses by Japanese director Nagisa Oshima whose film contained sex with social and political commentary. Franco compared his film to Oshima's, stating "there are lots of hardcore shots but nobody would say'Oh, it's a porno film!' No. It's a important story. I felt. There was a need to show it, like you must show how Dracula sucks his blood, you need to show how this Countess sucks the semen." Some scenes with the vampires were filmed the manner of a traditional vampire film and in a much more graphic style.

The film was edited by Ramon Ardid under the combined pseudonym Pierre Querut. The film premiered in France under the title La Comtesse noire on May 7, 1975. Producers added hardcore pornography scenes to the film on some of its releases; the film has been released under several alternative English titles, including Yacula, Bare-Breasted Vampire, The Bare Breasted Countess and Naked Vampire. The film was screened under the title The Bare Breasted Countess at the 2009 Fantastic Fest with Lina Romay and Franco in attendance. Female Vampire was released by Image Entertainment on DVD on August 8, 2000; the film was re-released on blu-ray disc by Kino International. The Kino release includes both a 72-minute "horror version" and a 104-minute "erotic version". From a contemporary review, David McGillivray, reviewing a 59-minute dubbed version of the film, stated the cuts have made a narratively complex film more confusing, describing the film as "a fragment of a much longer film, although in this case the cuts have added a bizarre new level to a work wrapped in mystery" The reviewer commented that "what is going on, what Irina is doing to her victims, remains a mind-boggling conundrum", noting that "with the exception of the first encounter, she appears not to be doing anything at all."From retrospective reviews, Kim Newman referred to the film as "One of Franco's better films" as well noting that for Franco's fanbase it is "a masterpiece.

The online film database Allmovie gave the film one and a half stars out of five, but opined that the film "benefits from a haunting performance by Romay as the cursed vampire." List of Belgian films of the 1970s List of French films of 1975 List of horror films of 1975 Female Vampire on IMDb Female Vampire at AllMovie