Highly controversial in its native France, François Ozon’s (Frantz, Swimming Pool) brilliant new film follows the survivors of an ongoing child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church as they seek justice.
A Lyon family man, Alexandre’s (Melvil Poupaud) professional exterior masks a traumatic secret: that as a young boy he was abused by priest Bernard Preynat (Bernard Verley). Unable to stay silent, in 2014 Alexandre takes his case to Cardinal Barbarin (François Marthouret), who professes ignorance over Preynat’s crimes – but as the inquiry elicits a chain of similar testimonies from other men, the Cardinal’s position becomes harder to sustain.
Conceived by Ozon as a film ‘in the spirit of Spotlight’, Tom McCarthy’s Oscar winner about the Boston Globe’s revelatory investigation into child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, it is similarly conscientious and well-researched, following the perspective of several semi-fictionalised men as they speak up about their long-repressed experiences and seek justice.
By now a familiar story – the uncovering of long-repressed traumas, the predatory targeting of victims, the repeated cover-ups by Catholic officials – it is nevertheless still an incredibly important one; a French chapter in what has become an international reckoning.
EUROPEAN ARTHOUSE CINEMA DAY
The preview screening on Sun 13 Oct is part of European Arthouse Cinema Day, an international celebration of the diversity of European arthouse film and cinema venues. Special thanks to Curzon Artificial Eye.