HADEWIJCH

SYNOPSIS
Bruno Dumont’s exceptional film about faith and religious fervor begins as devout 20-year-old Céline is expelled from a nunnery, the mother superior—who calls her a “caricature of a nun”—disapproving of her selfstarvation and self-mortification. Returned to the secular world, this tooardent believer, we discover, is the child of a French cabinet minister and lives in a palatial Paris apartment. Our heroine soon meets Yassine, a rebellious Arab teenager from the banlieue who introduces her to the pleasure of stealing mopeds. But it is Yassine’s older brother, Nassir, who most intrigues Céline; recognizing her religious seriousness, Nassir invites her to the Koran discussion group he leads. Although she doesn’t convert to Islam, Céline becomes fascinated by Nassir’s intense theological debates and his support of jihad. Dumont’s powerful film, which takes its title from the name of a 13th-century poet, Hadewijch of Antwerp, profoundly (yet calmly) explores the relentless pursuit of faith in both Christianity and Islam—and what drives certain believers to acts of extreme violence.

“Like all of Mr. Dumont’s films, Hadewijch conjures the strange electricity (you might call it auras) around people, as if peeling away an outer layer of reality. The movie studies faces and bodies to locate the essence of humanness, especially in the eyes, behind which it finds both bestial and spiritual impulses and locates a primal isolation, as well as a lurking violence.”
Stephen Holden, The New York Times

DIRECTOR
Bruno Dumont

SCREENPLAY
Bruno Dumont

CAST
Céline/Hadewijch: Julie Sokolowski
Nassir: Karl Sarafidis
Yassine: Yassine Salime
David: David Dewaele

GENRE Drama
LANGUAGE French
RUNNING TIME 105’
PRODUCTION France, 2009
RATING Not Rated
GAUGE 35mm, DVD

DISTRIBUTOR
IFC Films