Thursday, February 21, 2013

Invisible Gods

Hadewijch (2009) - Dumont
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Hadewijch is a film with immense power and beauty. The innocence and religious devotion are embodied by non-professional actor Julie Sokolowski. After getting kicked out of the convent because of her zealotry (refusing to eat and not covering herself against the cold) by concerned mother superiors, Céline (Sokolowski) is befriended by an Arab youth, who at first is attracted by her beatific demeanor, then impressed by her devotion. He in turn introduces her to his older brother who teaches Q'oran. Dumont serenely shows how an innocent can easily get bought into the martyrdom without judgment. It is not easy to buy into Céline's existence- a daughter of an extremely wealthy family, studying theology at her age, her unquestioning faith, etc. But Dumont's approach is so austere and sincere, these little set ups don't really matter too much. Elliptical climax threw me off a little but redemptive ending, with the constant presence of David Dewaele (the soulful lead from Hors Satan) really moved me as a whole. Hadewijch is definitely a great reward of a movie for adventurous filmgoers. I am really getting into Dumont.

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