CFUV @ VFF2020: Corpus Christi
Written by cfuvmd on 02/11/2020
Academy Award Nominee for best International Feature Film, the Polish-made Corpus Christi is the story of Daniel, a young man who has recently been released from juvenile detention for a violent crime. Daniel is sent to work at the sawmill of a small town, but he has other callings; while incarcerated, he has found an enduring faith in Christianity, and a desire to serve as a priest (something his criminal record will not allow him to do). One quick lie when he arrives in the town near the sawmill leads to him masquerading as the town’s new priest, and what follows is an unusual story of redemption, faith, and the powers of forgiveness.
While many of the background characters in Corpus Christi seem a bit clichéd and one-dimensional and (a judgemental church lady, an egotistical mayor)—the message of the film proves to be much more complex. Corpus Christi causes us to question who religion is really for if it does not welcome the most lost, and flawed among us. With these ideas in mind, the film upsets traditional power dynamics by putting an outcast in the centre of religious worship, and allowing him to assume the “voice” of God. Daniel (brilliantly played with an intense vulnerability by actor Bartosz Bielenia) delivers a message to his followers that focuses on inclusion and forgiveness, as opposed to restriction and guilt. Filmed in a palette of blue and grey tones, this gritty, emotional, and offbeat film is an excellent watch.