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HADEWIJCH

Director: Bruno Dumont

120 minutes, France, 2009, Subtitled, Colour, D-Cinema


For a filmmaker who has often explored mankind’s brute physicality, the spiritual theme of Bruno Dumont’s 2009 drama (titled after a 13th-century Christian mystic) seemingly marks a sea-change. Dumont’s faith in non-professional actors remains intact however, vindicated by the remarkable Julie Sokolowski as a wilfully pious postulant nun banished from a convent so that experience of the world will temper the selfish intensity of her devotions. Sokolowski’s beatifically natural presence makes the heroine’s subsequent wayward odyssey compelling indeed, when her return to her parents’ palatial Parisian enclave ironically brings her into contact with two Muslim brothers from the city’s far-flung high-rises.

Dumont’s background as a teacher of philosophy is in evidence here as debate turns to the knowability of the divine. As so often in his work though, his signal achievement is to convey his characters’ inner states through the strikingly framed environments in which they find themselves – Dumont’s own bracing vision of cinema. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)

EXCLUSIVELY AT THE IFI

FRENCH FILM CLUB
There will be a French Film Club screening of this film (introduced by Brigitte LeJuez) on February 29th at 18.40. Discounted tickets for IFI and Alliance Française members.

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