Led by a gripping performance from Melissa Leo, NOVITIATE—opening at The Ross on Friday, November 24, grapples uncompromisingly -- and ultimately compellingly -- with questions of faith and feminism. Questions of faith may sound dry but they often make for intensely dramatic, even pulse-pounding cinema. “NOVITIATE” is the latest case in point. –Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times [NOVITIATE director] Ms. Betts refrains from easy, uplifting answers and facile condemnations of organized religion. –A.O. Scott, The New York Times NOVITIATE finds room for all these viewpoints; appreciating the dedication it takes to live such a life while also questioning its suppression of individuality, emotion. This willingness to embrace such complexity is a bit of a miracle in itself. –Christie Lemire, RogertEbert.com NOVITIATE is showing at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center on Friday, November 24 through Thursday, December 7. Show times are available at www.TheRoss.org, by consulting your newspaper, or by calling the MRRMAC film information line at 402.472.5353. The Motion Picture Association of America has rated NOVITIATE R (for language, some sexuality, and nudity). This program is being presented with the support of the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. Spanning over a decade from the early 1950s through to the mid-60s, NOVITIATE is about a young girl's first initiation with love, in this case with God. Raised by a non-religious, single mother in rural Tennessee, a scholarship to Catholic school soon finds Cathleen drawn into the mystery and romanticism of a life devoted to the worship and servitude of God. With the dawn of the Vatican II era, radical changes in the Church are threating the course of nuns’ lives. As she progresses from the postulant to the novitiate stage of training, she finds her faith repeatedly confronted and challenged by the harsh, often inhumane realities of being a servant of God. Cathleen finds herself struggling with issues of faith, sexuality, and recent changes in life of the Church.