french films > Lourdes

Lourdes

Sylvie Testud dans Lourdes

Lourdes

Review score: * * * * *

cast: Sylvie Testud, Léa Seydoux, Bruno Todeschini, Gilette Barbier, Gerhard Liebmann, Irma Wagner

year: 2009

colour: yes

certificate: U

director: Jessica Hausner

runtime: 99

A famed city of healing, Lourdes offers hope to countless Christian pilgrims who seek miracles. Not particularly pious herself, Christine, a wheelchair-bound young woman, takes trips with a church group mostly to escape her solitary life. Though she finds Lourdes touristy, Christine is conveyed to grottos, baths, and ceremonies by her roommate, a devout older woman, and the starchy group leader, Cecile. Do both sense a miracle? With pitch-perfect sincerity, filmmaker Jessica Hausner nestles Lourdes between religious satire and redemption story. Though she delights in the comical (Lourdes has an office of miracle certification), Hausner is driven by curiosity, not cynicism. She approaches the subject of miracles less interested in whether they’re real than in what they awake in us. In Hausner’s Lourdes, the eternal mystery goes unrevealed, but the human spirit abides. As one woman ponders, “If God is not in charge, who is?”, to which a friend replies, “Do you think there’ll be a dessert?”

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