Hadewijch

"Very Good"

Hadewijch Review


Instead of his usual confrontational style, Dumont infuses this reflective drama with raw tenderness. But he's as provocative as always. Which is probably unavoidable with a film about religious devotion (the title refers to a 13th century Flemish poet).

The young novice Celine (Sokolowski) is asked to leave the convent because she refuses to eat. The problem is that she's so overwhelmed by her faith that food seems unnecessary to her. Her love for God knows no bounds, and she's determined to feel him in every moment. She returns to her wealthy parents' lavish Paris flat and meets the young Muslim Yassine (Salime) in a cafe. He's attracted to her but respects her vow of celibacy. And it's his brother Nassir (Sarafidis) who catches her interest with discussions about active Islam.

There are elements here that echo Dumont's previous work (such as the foreboding tone and the interaction with nature). But what's surprising is the overwhelming gentleness, even as the film begins to explore the kind of religious fervour that inspires violence. Dumont is equating the passion a young nun feels while praying with a suicide bomber's ecstatic state of mind.

And the film takes such a delicate approach that we start to understand how this might be true.

Sokolowski delivers a raw, deeply felt performance with minimal flourishes. The camera often lingers on her almost saintly face as she experiences life and sees God in art and nature. And Sokolowski's scenes with the other actors are charged with a remarkable combination of holiness and naivete. It's as if Celine has some kind of divine protection simply because her heart is so pure.

While it may be hard to believe that such a fervent Christian could so easily join a fanatic Islamic sect, we can see in her eyes that there is no conflict.

Until later.

Dumont tells this increasingly unnerving story with scenes that are often still and silent. He continually contrasts sights, sounds and situations, such as sequences in which Celine attends a scruffy outdoor rave and then later listens to a classical string ensemble in a church. Throughout the film, Dumont skilfully maintains a feeling of uncertainty; we never know what will happen next. And even if some of what happens isn't hugely convincing (or clear), it really gets us thinking.



Hadewijch

Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Friday 24th December 2010

Box Office USA: $4.6k

Budget: 4

Distributed by: IFC Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
Fresh: 20 Rotten: 9

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Muriel Merlin

Starring: Julie Sokolowski as Céline vel Hadewijch, Yassine Salime as Yassine Chikh, Karl Sarafidis as Nassir Chikh, David Dewaele as David

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Advertisement
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.