Provocative religious drama from French director Bruno Dumont
Don’t be put off the fact that it’s taken a couple of years for this provocative examination of contemporary religious martyrdom to gain a cinematic release in the United Kingdom. The film, which explores how extreme faith can inspire acts of violence, is a typically uncompromising drama from French writer-director Bruno Dumont (L’Humanité, Flanders), who defiantly continues to plough his Bressonian furrow in the fields of art-house cinema (although his trademark animalistic sex scenes are conspicuously absent here).
Named after a thirteenth century European female mystic, Hadewijch follows a 20-year-old Catholic virgin and theology student Céline (Julie Sokolowski), who is removed from a Belgian convent by her mother superior when her piety reaches excessive and worrying levels. Still devoutly in love with Christ, this daughter of a cabinet minister encounters a volatile Muslim teenager Yassine (Yassine Salim) in Paris, whose older brother Nassir (Karl Sarafidis) is a man of fundamentalist Islamic convictions. The pallid, opaque Sokolowski is a real discovery, and this mysterious, elliptical film patiently builds, via a detour to the Middle East, to its climactic act of rain-drenched salvation.
Selected release from Fri 17 Feb.