28 March 2010

Hadewijch (Bruno Dumont, 2009, France)

Shortly after our story begins, our protagonist, a novice at a convent, is dismissed for going overboard with the abstinence and mortification. Her story is interwoven with the story of a bricklayer and petty criminal but I'm not entirely sure I know why. The mother superior says to go put herself to use in the world and she goes back to live with her wealthy parents in their majestic Ile Saint-Louis residence. She hooks up with some Arab guys at a cafe one day and goes with them to this MAJESTIC concert on the quay; it looks like punk but it's all accordion with itself. She ends up being friends with one of the boys, who has the hots for her, but she tells him she's with Jesus and that while she can ride around on stolen scooters with him and her dog, she's not going to put out for anyone but Jesus. She meets the kid's brother, who leads religious meetings upstairs from a shawarma place. There's all this religious crap that follows, including them suddenly being in the middle of a war zone in the middle east and then back in Paris seemingly up to no good. I didn't really buy it. I didn't buy the ending. I thought it was okay if you read it as a criticism of religious fervor that might indicate the thief has more to do with the main man in their fairy tale religion than anybody else. Or not. The music is lovely. The images are lovely. I liked the actors. I found the story a little cheap though. C

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