Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:34 pm 
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Spiritual con

Twenty-year-old Daniel (Bartosz Bielenia) is released from a very rough juvenile detention after experiencing a spiritual transformation and sent to the other side of Poland to work in a sawmill. The chaplain tells him his record bars him from divinity school. But dodging the mill, where he might meet violent colleagues from juvie, he instead dons a clerical collar and introduces himself at the local church. The pastor has to take time off for his health, and Daniel gets to substitute. He has to improvise rituals and liturgy of which his knowledge is sketchy, but his passion swells the congregation and he sets to healing wounds from a vehicular tragedy that has divided the community. Bielenia, who has a God-given talent and a face that's half haggard and half transfigured with serene joy (with something of the young Christopher Walken about it) carries the main weight in a film that sometimes goes on too long but that constantly stimulates thoughts with its mix of deception and beatitude. The somewhat puzzling ending of Mateusz Pacewicz's sreenplay takes us rather back where we started. An engaging third feature(after Suicide Room, Warsaw 44)) from Komasa, who's still under thirty, Corpus Christi is Poland's submission to the Best Foreign Oscar competition (International Feature, it's called now) .* Memorable film, remarkable performance.

Corpus Christi/Boże Ciało, 115 mins., debuted at Venice, nine other festivals. Many awards. Coming AFI Fest 20 November 2019.

*It made it to the final list, which was: Corpus Christi, Honeyland, Les Misérables, Pain and Glory, and Parasite.

©Chris Knipp. Blog:

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