Screened as part of NZIFF 2015

The Brand New Testament 2015

Le Tout nouveau testament

Directed by Jaco van Dormael

There’s the Old Testament, the New Testament and now this surreal and funny Brand New one in which God’s ten-year-old daughter leaves home on a mission to liberate humanity from the bored old man’s destructive whims.

Belgium/France/Luxembourg In French with English subtitles
117 minutes CinemaScope/DCP
M (nudity, offensive language, sexual content)

Director

Producers

Jaco Van Dormael
,
Olivier Rausin
,
Daniel Marquet

Screenplay

Thomas Gunzig
,
Jaco van Dormael

Photography

Christophe Beaucarne

Editor

Hervé de Luze

Production designer

Sylvie Olive

Costume designer

Caroline Koener

Music

An Pierlé

With

Pili Groyne (Éa)
,
Benoît Poelvoorde (God)
,
Catherine Deneuve (Martine)
,
François Damiens (François)
,
Yolande Moreau (God’s wife)
,
Laura Verlinden (Aurélie)
,
Serge Larivière (Marc)
,
Didier De Neck (Jean-Claude)
,
Romain Gelin (Willy)
,
Marco Lorenzini (Victor)

Festivals

Cannes (Directors’ Fortnight) 2015

Elsewhere

In Belgian director Jaco Van Dormael’s universe, God (Benoit Poelvoorde) is a mean-spirited bastard lounging around his Brussels apartment in dressing gown and trackies, watching sport on TV and wreaking havoc on the world from his DOS-run PC. Goddess (the marvellous Yolande Moreau), his long suffering wife, sticks to her embroidery and bides her time. But ten-year-old daughter Éa (played by a fantastic young actress, Pili Groyne) has taken one too many strappings from the old man and resolves – with the help of her better-known older brother – to liberate the world from the malign hand of Dad. Not to give away too much about her mission, she sets about recruiting six disciples whose testimony about their own miracle-free lives will constitute the Brand New Testament. Surreal silliness ensues, with some florid CGI assistance, and memorable encounters with, amongst others, a small boy who wants to be a girl and Catherine Deneuve as a wealthy shopaholic who bonds with a gorilla. Literal adherents of the previous two Testaments need not apply, but there’s a daffy innocence – a touch of Amélie – about this brand new one.

Van Dormael maintains a blazing storytelling momentum and a highly creative visual scheme. He’s in the Gondry/Gilliam zone, but if you can’t get down with a floating fish skeleton humming ‘La Mer’, why do you go to the movies in the first place?… This is a vision of optimism, of people being given the opportunity to help one another and doing it with tenderness. If you can get past the initial blasphemy, you’ll find a highly moral film.” — Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian