BY THE GRACE OF GOD
François Ozon delivers a ripped-from-the-headlines portrait of a group of men whose quest to expose the crimes of a predatory priest uncovered the misdeeds of France’s church leadership.
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, By the Grace of God dramatizes the true stories of several men whose accounts of sexual abuse laid bare not only the crimes of one predatory priest, but also the cruelty of a system more concerned with public image than the well-being of children. Despite his childhood abuse, father of five Alexandre (Melvil Poupaud) remains a devout, Mass-attending believer. After learning that the priest who molested him still works with children, Alexandre initially seeks help from church authorities. His disappointment leads him to a group of men abused by the same priest, who unite to reveal the misconduct of the Lyon Archdiocese. Not content to depict his subjects solely as victims, Ozon portrays them as complex individuals, whose different life experiences inevitably inform the way they process their past abuses and approach their newfound roles as activists. Handled with restraint and exquisite craft, By the Grace of God is a moving yet never exploitative examination of the varying ways victims process abuse, made all the more powerful by the fact that its subjects are still fighting for justice today.
CAST: MELVIL POUPAUD, DENIS MÉNOCHET, SWANN ARLAUD, ERIC CARAVACA
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