Jean-Marie Vianney,Le Curé D'Ars became a saint and his family name "Vianney" became a first (Christian) name .As a former Sunday school pupil,I remember the day they showed us "Le Sorcier Du Ciel" by Marcel Blistène (1948).A dubious choice for nine -year-old brats for Vianney's fight against the Devil (represented by spooky noises) gave me goose flesh and at night I was afraid to switch off my lamp.
Demy's short has nothing to do with Blistène's (who said horror?) movie,for it's a simple documentary beginning with the fact that the holy man's body had remained intact when they opened his coffin,except for his face.
Although a Demy movie,it has nothing to do with Demy's feature films either.Very austere,very bleak,it is some kind of Bresson's work in miniature .Vianney was hated ,then adored by his flock ,who ,before he died ,stood in line in front of his confessional in which he spent half of his life.
Demy shows us a complex character:at first he appears as the humblest of all the creatures of God ,a male Bernadette Soubirous or Thérèse De Lisieux;then a demanding priest ,urging his villagers to repent ,which went against him and tarnished his image for a while (a girl even claimed she was pregnant by him);then a holy man who was praised to the skies by his whole congregation and well beyond..
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