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Isaach De Bankolé
Austrian screenwriter and director Jessica Hausner's third feature film film which she wrote, premiered In competition at the 66th Venice Film Festival in 2009, was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 34th Toronto International Film Festival in 2009, was shot on location in France and is a France-Germany-Austria co-production which was produced by producers Martin Gschlacht, Philippe Bober and Suzanne Marian. It tells the story about a young woman with Multiple Sclerosis named Christine. She is chained to a wheelchair and can only get out if she signs up for cultural or Christian trips. Christine has previously visited Rome, but her next destination is Lourdes, the iconic site of pilgrimage in the Pyrenees Mountains.
This finely tuned fictional tale is set in the Christian pilgrimage town Lourdes in France, a fine choice of location, where the Virgin Mary apparently appeared to a 14-year-old girl named Bernadette Soubirous in 1858, and Austrian filmmaker Jessica Hausner tells the story about a reserved though smiling and obliging woman who arrives at Lourdes hoping to be cured of her chronic illness. Jessica Hausner's quiet reflection of the intangibility concerning miracles and peoples individual relations to their faith is intellectually debated and asks several interesting questions that are also answered. All though her film has elements of divinity by it in the use of music and some remarkable scenes, it is by no means an overly religious film. "Lourdes" is rather a concentrated study of an enigmatic theme and a film where the characters reactions and reception to the abstract is the core and where the existential converges with the mysterious and the distinct with the abstract.
Austrian cinematographer Martin Gschlacht's skillful and structural cinematography compliments Jessica Hausner's clear vision, and her steady, stringent and partly static direction is at its best when she films the main character from versatile perspectives and creates describing portraits of an archetype character, excellently played by French actress, screenwriter and director Sylvie Testud in a vital and radiating interpretation of a character that only has her face and her words to express herself with. Most actors delivers convincing acting and Jessica Hausner's film has a strong humane warmth that shines through the heroine's being, and an elusive atmosphere which is effectuated by the esoteric faces of the guests and employees at the place that has been called the Catholic Church's answer to Disneyland. An innovating and artistic film from a director with a recognizable personal style where one is left feeling like having seen something that lasted significantly longer than its running time.
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