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François Ozon’s (Frantz, Potiche) latest film is a surprising departure from his usual stylistic flourishes and sly humour. By the Grace of God is an ambitious, sobering, true story of child sexual abuse in the French Catholic Church and the winner of the 2019 Berlinale Jury Grand Prix.
A Lyon family man, Alexandre’s professional exterior masks a traumatic secret: that as a young boy he was abused by priest Bernard Preynat. Unable to stay silent, in 2014 Alexandre takes his case to Cardinal Barbarin, who professes ignorance over Preynat’s crimes – but as the inquiry elicits a chain of similar testimonies from other men, the Cardinal’s position becomes harder to sustain.
Conceived by Ozon ‘in the spirit of Spotlight’, this is a profound, well-researched take on a parallel story; following the perspective of several semi-fictionalised men as they speak up about their long-repressed experiences and seek justice. The French chapter in what has become an international reckoning.
- François Ozon
- 2 hours 18 minutes
- Denis Ménochet, Melvil Poupaud, Swann Arlaud