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.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2020
This film is screening in select cinemas and venues across the country. See here for details.
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
“Reminiscent of the work of Flannery O’Connor, Corpus Christi raises enduring questions about holiness and hierarchy, dogma and true devotion, and God’s plan for even the most wayward pilgrims. Komasa films his subjects in subdued, milky light, which lends them a nimbus of ethereality, frequently punctuating the action with lyrical panoramic shots of Poland’s bucolic countryside… Corpus Christi is enjoyable if only for its intriguing plot. But it also serves as a kind of prayer. To which one can only say, Amen.” — Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
About the Filmmaker
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).