Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Watching for... HADEWIJCH (Bruno Dumont)
"Bruno Dumont's HADEWIJCH was turned down by Cannes and Venice. Drawing inspiration from the life and writings of the 13th-century Flemish mystic, it tells of a young novice whose self-mortifications and excessive devotion to God lead to her expulsion from the convent and bring her under the sway of a charismatic Muslim. Dumont's capacity to provoke and divide certainly hasn't deserted him here, although HADEWIJCH feels quite different in several respects to his prvious films. Dumont tends to be regarded by his detractors as a crude shock-merchant, a dour primitivist who delights in rubbing vieweres' noses in humanity's bestial nature - a perspective that overlooks both his conceptual sophistication, and his delicacy and compassion, all well to the fore here. Although HADEWIJCH left without a prize, I suspect - particularly after a second viewing - that of all the films I saw in San Sebastian, this could be the one most likely to deepen and grow in stature over the years." (Kieron Corless, reporting on the San Sebastian Film Festival, Sight & Sound, December 2009)
The film played the Toronto International Film Festival and according to Indiewire was picked up for distribution by IFC. . . .
"In the film, Dumont undertakes a topical exploration of the psychology of religious extremism and martyrdom. Expelled from a convent for her overzealous faith, teenage Céline (Julie Sokolowski) reluctantly returns to a life of comfort and privilege as the daughter of a French government minister. Back in Paris and farther from God, she makes a new friend, an Arab boy who introduces her to the cités, housing projects full of Arab and African immigrants, an alien world but one where faith exerts a familiar sway." (Brian Brooks, Indiewire)
Dumont's films include L'HUMANITE ("Humanity" 1999) and LA VIE DE JESUS ("The Life of Jesus" 1997) - which isn't what you would think...