By the Grace of God
Country: Belgium, France
Original Title: Grâce À Dieu
Running Time: 137min
Film Year: 2019
Category: Films, Special Gems, Knight Marimbas Award
Special Offer – $9 tickets for this film, limited time only.
The Oscar-winning film Spotlight told the incredible true story of the heroic Boston Globe journalists who, in 2002, broke the story of rampant sexual abuse, and a scandalous cover-up, in their local Catholic Church.
In Lyon, France, a similar reckoning has taken place in the past few years – but in this case, the heroes of the story are the victims themselves, who form a group they call La Parole Libérée (“Lift the Burden”) to bring Bernard Preynat, a local priest who sexually assaulted young boys for over 25 years, to criminal justice. In By the Grace of God, acclaimed filmmaker François Ozon dramatizes the story of three Preynat victims – Alexandre Guérin (Melvil Poupaud), a lawyer and devoted Catholic family man, François Debord (Denis Ménochet), a declared atheist who wants to bring media attention to the case, and Emmanuel Thomassin, an emotionally damaged younger man who carries the heaviest burden and the effects of prolonged trauma.
Ozon makes a major break from his usual stylistic flourishes to tell the men’s collective story with an unblinking empathy and compassion. His cinematic grace stands up for Alexandre, François and Emmanuel’s truth against power in a manner that honors the emotional complexity of their journey; showing us the fear, frustration, stress, and doubt they endure while confronting a system fortified to deny their sufferings. By the Grace of God is François Ozon’s most important film to date, one of which is impossible to look away.
This screening is supported by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and sponsored by TV5Monde.
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Director: François Ozon
Producer: Éric Altmayer, Nicolas Altmayer
Screenwriter: François Ozon
Production Company: Mandarin Production, Music Box Films
Music: Evgueni Galperine, Sacha Galperine
Cinematographer: Manu Dacosse
Editor: Laure Gardette