A famed city of healing, Lourdes offers hope to countless Christian pilgrims who seek miracles. Not particularly pious herself, Christine, a wheelchair-bound young woman, takes trips with a church group mostly to escape her solitary life. Though she finds Lourdes touristy, Christine is conveyed to grottos, baths, and ceremonies by her roommate, a devout older woman, and the starchy group leader, Cecile. Do both sense a miracle?
With pitch-perfect sincerity, filmmaker Jessica Hausner nestles Lourdes between religious satire and redemption story. Though she delights in the comical (Lourdes has an office of miracle certification), Hausner is driven by curiosity, not cynicism. She approaches the subject of miracles less interested in whether they’re real than in what they awake in us. In Hausner’s Lourdes, the eternal mystery goes unrevealed, but the human spirit abides. As one woman ponders, “If God is not in charge, who is?”, to which a friend replies, “Do you think there’ll be a dessert?” —Sundance Film Festival
Born in Austria in 1972, Jessica Hausner studied Directing at the Vienna Film Academy. Her first short film, Flora (1996), winner of the Leopard of Tomorrow Award at Locarno, was followed by Inter-view (1999), her graduation film, which in turn won the Special Prize granted by the Cinéfondation Jury in Cannes. That same year she founded her own production company, coop99, with Barbara Albert, Antonin Svoboda and Martin Gschlacht.
Her first two features, Lovely Rita (2001) and Hotel (2004), were selected by Cannes Festival for its Un Certain Regard section. And Lourdes (2009), a film ruminating on the ambivalence of miracle cures, was invited to compete at Venice that same year, carrying off the Fipresci Prize. The same film also bagged the Best Actress Award for Sylvie Testud at the European Film Awards. —Festival de San Sebastián
I replayed that very last scene at least 5 times. Sylvie Testud's lingering heartbreak, Léa Séydoux singing "Felicita". Bitter bitter sweet. <3
Austerity may be the greatest quality in Jessica's Hausner third film. Despite its ambitious mise-en-scene, Hausner manages to keep a fair balance in her narrative. The ambiguous and the suspenseful remains two of her greatest strenghts, used with the same good hand which made Hotel quite an interesting film. Just looking forward to what her potential can achieve in the future.
"As befits a film both set in and titled after a city where five million hopeful pilgrims journey every year, Jessica Hausner's Lourdes revolves
Jessica Hausner’s new film Lourdes may be the most mysterious film screened at this year’s Toronto film festival, one that takes a story
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