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

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

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.