The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Hadewijch | The Movie Waffler

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New Release Review - Hadewijch


Directed by: Bruno Dumont
Starring: Julie Sokolowski, Yassine Salime, Karl Sarafidis

Kicked out of a convent for being too pious (a nun describes her as being a "caricature of religion"), Sokolowski returns to Paris where she is manipulated into carrying out a subway bombing by a group of muslim men.
In recent times, French cinema has split into two distinct camps; lavish, beautifully shot tourist board movies set in the rolling hills of the wine valleys, and gritty pieces which utilise the grim urban landscape of  the north. Dumont exists somewhere in between, tackling ugly subject matter yet shooting it in a stunningly colourful fashion. In contrast to this visual professionalism is his casting of non-actors, imagine Ken Loach meets Kubrick. There's a shot in this film that sums Dumont up, set in a tower-block apartment in a rundown Parisian suburb. The view of Paris from this point is one which would be the envy of the middle and upper classes residing in the city below.
All this visual splendor can't hide the ugliness of Dumont's intent. By claiming to attack religion he has made the most lavish party political broadcast the French National Front could ever dream of. I'm all for having a go at religion but when you target a minority faith it's just plain bullying. The idea that a bunch of Muslims would go out of their way to corrupt a Catholic girl is just too hard to swallow. Dumont is preying on middle-class Christian paranoia because he knows if the protagonist were a young Islamic girl mainstream audiences wouldn't be interested. It's a French take on how Hollywood treats minorities. Ever notice how any movies about the black struggle are always from the point of view of whites? Almost a half century later and we haven't had a Martin Luther King movie, heaven forbid Hollywood would show blacks actually achieving something on their own. Likewise the only major production about the holocaust is about a Gentile saving Jewish lives.
It's ironic that in a film about a young girl being exploited by men, Dumont has his lead perform a ridiculously gratuitous nude scene. Perhaps this is why he casts amateurs?
This is a very technically accomplished movie and Sokolowski is a revelation in her debut but the sheer bigotry made it hard for me to appreciate.
5/10