Rebel Hearts: Cleveland International Film Festival
ON Demand Virtual Screening
REBEL HEARTS profiles the pioneering nuns of The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who challenged the Catholic patriarchy to advocate for themselves and the community they served. Set in 1960s Los Angeles, shortly after the Catholic Church's shocking modernization of church law in 1959, the sisters leveraged the new doctrine to better answer their community's calls for social reform, racial justice, and gender equity. Their bold participation in activism, cultural arts, and women's empowerment challenged traditional gender norms and religious stereotypes. Yet, the autocratic Cardinal supervising their parish was uninterested in change or reform. Convinced the convent was becoming too modern too quickly, the Cardinal took actions to curtail the sisters' newly found empowerment. Undeterred, the group continued their resistance against oppressive church rules suppressing their fundamental human rights, created to command rigid obedience to church leaders rather than spiritual devotion. This documentary depicts their defiant stance against a patriarchal system that captured national attention and elevated conversations on women's roles in the church and broader American society.