Christine is a lonely, almost entirely handicapped woman who goes on a life-changing journey to Lourdes, the iconic site of pilgrimage in the Pyrenees Mountains. Not that she believes in miracles – it just happens to be the only way to get out and about.
Jessica Hausner’s film on the complexity of Christian faith casts a mysterious spell with its tale of a handicapped woman (a lovely Sylvie Testud) making a pilgrimage in the hope of something miraculous. The grave story is lent wry and surprising twists of tone, mixing sincerity, humor and suspense.
For me, this is a near to perfect as you get. Composition, framing and editing are stunnning; characterisations are rounded, and achieved with such economy of writing as well as beautifully understated depth of performance; subject matter is both gently funny and lightly mocking, but never sneering - always with great empathy and understanding for the characters.
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.
Love the depiction of so many people with disabilities on film, even if not all roles could be played by the real disabled. That said, the power of this film is that it's open to interpretation depending on one's view of religion, and this is how we should approach the subject always. It offers so much subtle commentary. And Gilette Barbier as silent Madame Carré and Elina Lowenson as Celine are mesmerizing.
The Pilgrim's Process (or the business of miracles, more cynically) is blankly observed in this dour study of retractable pieties and commutable devotions. Whilst not anti-clerical (the blank gaze stops short of that), the depiction of the sterile, joyless conduct is rather merciless with the locked camera offering an integrity of surveillance if not reverence for its subject (whether apparent miracle or placebo).
a very apt depiction of compassion fatigue. the multiple instances of spilled saliva representing one thinking they are endeavouring on behalf of another but are in fact neglecting them to the point of abjection due to their own inability to look inside themselves and recognize their motivations nor look outside themselves and care enough to recognize how/when to give care as needed, intricate balance there