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

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.