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Hadewijch
dir. Bruno Dumont / France 2009 / 105’
subtitles: Polish and English

Cast

Julie Sokolowski, Yassine Salime, David Dewaele, Karl Sarafidis, Brigitte Mayeux-Clerget

awards

Toronto IFF 2009 – FIPRESCI Prize

Film description

Céline, the daughter of a government minister, is a theology student. When she becomes a novice nun in a Catholic cloister, she takes the name Hadewijch, after a medieval Flemish mystic and poet. Separated by time, the two women are connected by the nature of their boundless love of God, marked by yearning and the need for physical contact. Céline’s confrontation of the realities that surround her is painful. The exalted passion of her faith goes beyond accepted standards and her insatiable hunger for God’s grace concerns the nuns of the cloister. After they accuse the girl of pride, she is expelled. On her return to Paris she meets Yassine, a young Muslim man living in a suburban housing project. His brother Nassir leads Islamic community meetings, during which Céline meets kindred spirits who are similarly devoted to God. As the line between devotion and extreme fundamentalism begins to blur, Céline joins a terrorist group.

Dumont’s film desperately searches for wholeness in the character of Hadewijch and her aura of nordic mysticism. In a world that can be subtly cruel, is it possible to achieve inner peace by recreating the once perfect union of harmonious grace and nature?

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