NZIFF: Corpus Christi
25 July 2020 8:15pm — 10:15pm
An ex-con masquerading as a priest works to heal the wounds of a grieving congregation with his unorthodox brand of faith and forgiveness in this darkly compelling Oscar-nominated Polish drama.
In Jan Komasa’s enthralling redemption tale, troublemaker Daniel (a magnetic Bartosz Bielenia), released from juvenile detention, desires to break free from a chequered past. After wandering into a village church, he’s mistaken for a new priest and seizes the divine opportunity to alter his life’s trajectory.
This close-knit village, fractured by recent tragedy, provides just the freshly turned soil Daniel needs to flourish. After shaky beginnings in the confessional booth, the young man discovers a natural empathy that elicits vulnerability and openness in his parishioners as he honestly seeks to aid a community in distress. Vicarious redemption and forgiveness seem within his grasp, but can Daniel’s transformation hold fast as harsh reality encroaches?
Riding high on the deservedly lauded lead performance of actor Bielenia, Corpus Christi weaves its existential concerns into a gripping drama, shot evocatively in muted colours and with a visual potency befitting Poland’s reputation for cinematography. Likewise, Bielenia’s Daniel exudes an unpredictable intensity throughout the entire film; an electric presence that energises even its darkest emotional turns. — Jacob Powell
Jan Komasa is an acclaimed young Polish film director and screenwriter. His short film Nice to See You won third prize in the Cinefondation section at Cannes in 2003. Selected filmography: The Hater (2020), Warsaw ’44 (2014), Warsaw Uprising (2014), Suicide Room (2011).
Regent Theatre, Dunedin