François Ozon is a prolific cult director who has made numerous films in super 8, video, 16 mm and 35 mm; Your shorts are much appreciated. This is his eighteenth feature film. With a scale of 10/10.
The line that separates fiction from documentary is becoming increasingly thin and diffuse. Many times the distance between the filmmaker and the documented fact is shortened so much that it is difficult to recognize the reality of a story (Dying in Madrid, Frédéric Rossif, 1962). On other occasions, on the contrary, fiction sits on the basis of some reality and produces a story that pretends to be shown as a documentary but it is not (Zelig, Woody Allen, 1983). By the grace of God (Grâce à Dieu), the new realization of François Ozon is based on a real fact, creates a fiction about it to end with a look that aims to be objective, as if it were a documentary. In this sense, By the grace of God it is much more than a fiction or a reality.
The film deals with a real case happened in Lyon, France. A Catholic priest named Bernard Preynat was accused of child abuse and rape, facts that the priest acknowledges having committed but whose consequences he minimizes. The Bishop of Lyon, Cardinal Cardinal Barbarin, in whose jurisdiction the priest officiates, tries to hide the scandal while allowing the accused to continue working with children. The proper names are the real ones and as such the characters of the film are named. The premiere in France caused several disputes because the Preynat trial is not over yet and Cardinal Barbarin has been convicted of concealment, a sentence that is not firm.
The film is structured based on the eyes of the victims, who constituted a civil association, La Parole Libérée, created in 2015 to carry out their accusation. Alexandre, senior bank official, François, a merchant and Emmanuel, an unoccupied and confused man, are the protagonists of the story. Each of them stars in the story successively.
The film does not claim anything more or nothing less than to give testimony to the aberrant crime and its cover-up, as well as the force generated by the union and civic courage of the victims, who do not seem to pursue revenge but avoid new abuses against others.
Good acting work by Melvil Poupaud, Denis Ménochet, Swann Arlaud and Bernard Verley in the role of priest Bernard Preynat. Complete the cast François Marthouret, Josiane Balasko, Hélène Vincent, François Chattot, Frédéric Pierrot, Martine Erhel, Aurélia Petit, Julie Duclos, Jeanne Rosa and Amélie Daure
A success the music of Evgueni Galperine and Sacha Galperine. The photography direction of Manuel Dacosse collaborates with the group.
The film won the Grand Prize of the Jury Festival of Berlin 2019.
By the grace of God it is a brave and playful film, which deals with a scabrous subject but put on the screen with utmost delicacy.