Bruno Dumont - Hadewijch (2009)

Like The Sound of Music without the music, Bruno Dumont’s Hadewijch opens in a present-day convent, where the eponymous young novitiate—a girl of about 20—has run afoul of the mothers superior. She confuses abstinence with martyrdom, they say, as evidenced by her acts of starvation and self-mortification. And she has taken the idea of becoming a “bride of Jesus” altogether too literally. How do you solve a problem like Hadewijch? By returning her to secular society, the sisters agree, in the hope that she may find her “true self.”
Dumont’s typically uncompromising fifth feature—in part, a continuation of his career-encompassing study in the origins and varieties of human violence—follows Hadewijch on her journey beyond the convent walls, from the Left Bank of Paris to the West Bank and back again, as she becomes radicalized in her search for divine grace. Like her namesake, the 13th century Flemish mystic and poetess who wrote at length about her own sublimated love for the Almighty, Dumont’s Hadewijch, whose actual name is Céline (played by newcomer Julie Sokolowski), hails from an affluent family, the daughter of a government minister with a richly appointed apartment on the Île Saint-Louis. Thus, for the first time in his films, Dumont trades his beloved Bailleul for the City of Lights, which he shoots ravishingly (albeit not in his customary widescreen), rarely more so than when Céline catches a ride on the back of a stolen motorcycle with Yacine, the Arab youth she meets in a neighborhood café. Yacine steals the bike as payback for what he perceives as a disapproving glance from its proper owner—a moment that calls to mind the casual humiliation of the young Arab man in Dumont’s debut feature, La vie de Jésus (1997), here rendered in similarly sharp relief.

Size    1.46GB
Language    French


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