The Brand New Testament (2015) Poster

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Wonderful, Absurdist Comedy
gogoschka-111 February 2018
Ladies, this one is for you. Some of you may have suspected it all along, but this film confirms God is a chauvinist pig (well, the clues were all there, come to think of it). Luckily - but unbeknownst to most - God also has a daughter, and she's had enough of her mean-spirited, bad-tempered Father and is about to teach Him a lesson.

With the help of her brother (yes, THAT brother) and a somewhat unorthodox band of newly appointed disciples, she's determined to make her own mark on the universe. Needless to say, God's having none of it and tries to do everything in His - considerable - power to stop His rebellious daughter from undoing everything He's worked so hard for.

This hilarious satire is a firework of inspired ideas and just a blast from start to finish. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves intelligent, absurdist comedy in the vein of 'Life of Brian' or 'South Park' and doesn't get easily offended. 8 stars out of 10.

In case you're interested in more underrated masterpieces, here's a list with some of my favorites:
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The great question of our age
euroGary28 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
It's a question we've all asked ourselves at one stage or another: what if God were Belgian?

On the first day, He created Brussels. Shortly after, He created a geeky-looking Adam and a voluptuous Eve (it is noticeable that whereas all the men in this film are homely sorts, many of the women are very attractive). One thing led to another, and Adam and Eve duly begat humanity. After that God retired to a flat with his wife (a goddess in her own right but now more interested in her baseball card collection) and their daughter Ea. But He is a vengeful god and after one parental beating too many Ea downloads from His computer to people's mobile telephones the exact duration of their remaining life. She then runs away (to Brussels, naturally) with the intention of creating her own Testament, for which she'll need some Apostles. The film features God's hapless efforts in Brussels to find Ea (without identity papers, He is suspected of being an illegal immigrant), as well as the various stories of Ea's Apostles (she chooses a sex addict, a beautiful yet lonely woman, a killer, a lonely man, a dissatisfied wife who finds love with a gorilla, and a young boy whose mother's over-protectiveness results in him having the least time of them all to live - just fifty days).

As God, Benoît Poelvoorde provides a masterclass of comic timing (not to mention gurning) as he gets maced by an old woman, beaten up by a priest and fails to walk on water. Young Pili Groyne, as Ea, is streets ahead of most child actresses, giving a believable performance of an unbelievable character. In fact, there's good acting throughout - even Catherine Deneuve expands her range beyond the standard 'slightly harassed' facial expression with which she coasts through many of her films.

While I didn't find this film as laugh-out-loud as many of those in the cinema did, there's no denying it is funny - and shows the Belgians as having an almost British-like sense of self-mockery. I can't give higher praise than that!
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"He smelled of alcohol, decay, sweat, and urine, like a distillery in which the camel had died."
Bored_Dragon31 October 2018
God exists. He lives in Brussels with his wife and daughter. God is a self-centered sadistic bully who, out of sheer boredom, created people to torture them. Most of his time he spends creating (Murphy's) laws by which the world will function, with the sole purpose to annoy, frustrate and harass humanity as much as possible, and the rest of the time he causes wars, accidents, and natural disasters. When his son tried to stop this terror and change the world for the better he ended up crucified. And now his ten-year-old daughter has had enough and she takes matters into her own hands. She runs away, appoints six apostles and writes "The Brand New Testament."

Ea: How do you choose apostles? Jesus: Pretend like you know, no one will question you.

This surreal and absurdist black-humorous drama deals with eternal questions of the meaning of life, death, and love. Some accuse it of trying to impress by the quasi-philosophical depth, but I disagree with that. I would not say that this film fakes anything in any way. I have the impression that Jaco Van Dormael has come up with a good idea and simply let it grow and take its course, without restrictions and censorship.

The cast is excellent, and particularly prominent are Benoit Poelvoorde, in the role of crazed God, and young and cute Pili Groyne, who carries almost the entire movie, uniting the child's innocence and naivety with the wisdom and determination of the new messiah. Directing, cinematography and music are simply magical, and although the film has some technical shortcomings, it didn't bother me at all. I would say that some scenes pay homage to other films. I think I recognized "The Eighth Day", which also was written and directed by Jaco Van Dormael, then Kubrick's "The Shining" and Darabont's "The Shawshank Redemption", as well as several others for which I am not so sure.

This is the official Belgian submission for the 2016 Academy Awards. Competition must have been really strong when it did not pass. If this and my recommendation are not enough for you to watch it, the fact that it was created by the same man who was responsible for "The Eighth Day" and "Mr. Nobody" should prevail.

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Gloriously inventive, hilarious, metaphysical, big-hearted and satisfying.
andrewbunney7 March 2016
This is a fantasy, black comedy. Jesus Christ's kid sister Ea is living with their dad, God, and their mum, Goddess, in a city apartment in Brussels in the present day. She is sick of God's cruel and violent ways and at age 10, puts an end to it by freezing his computer and fleeing the apartment into the city.

Her last act before sabotaging her evil Dad is to text everyone with their date of death as her father, God, has fated it. This causes first a media storm, then great changes in the world and for individuals now certain of the imminence or otherwise of their mortality.

It is a wild romp as young Ea sets out with a homeless man as a scribe to find another half dozen disciples to add to her big brother's twelve, and write The Brand New Testament based on details of ordinary people's lives.

It is more whimsical and generous than blasphemous, but still, atheists will be as thrilled as believers will be enchanted, by the new apostles.

The storytelling is exquisite; Amelie-esque might be the best description of the style. Elaborately constructed frames of short bursts of gorgeous, surreal elements pepper the action to ensure that this movie is a very rare delight.

Gloriously inventive, coherent, hilarious, metaphysical, philosophical, big-hearted, and satisfying. This is 5 star entertainment for 15 and up.

Andrew Bunney, Let's Go To The Pictures, Three D Radio, Adelaide
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The Bible turned inside out and upside down
rubenm7 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Suppose God was not good, but evil. Suppose he spent his days inventing laws to make our lives difficult and miserable. Laws like: 'The queue next to yours will always go faster'. Or: 'A slice of bread will always fall to the floor with the buttered side down'. Suppose he lived in a filthy apartment, drank lots of beer and snorted during his sleep.   This is the blasphemous assumption 'Le tout nouveau testament' is based on. This extremely imaginative film turns the Bible inside out and puts it upside down. God is married to a dim-witted goddess, and has a young daughter who decides to expand the number of apostles from twelve to eighteen, because that is the number of players in a baseball game.

During the film, she finds six extra apostles, each of whom has some peculiarity. One is extremely beautiful but has only one arm, another one is sex obsessed since his early childhood, and one (played by Catherine Deneuve) is trading in her husband for a gorilla from the zoo. There are clearly no taboos for director Jaco Van Dormael.

His style of film making is related to that of Wes Anderson or Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Van Dormael is not concerned about reality, but creates a sort of magical world where anything is possible. He fills this world to the rim with visual gags and cinematographic pleasantries.

The problem I had with the film is that the fun and the jokes, as imaginative and creative as they are, become a bit tiresome after you realize the story behind it all is really very thin. In Wes Anderson's films, every funny element has a purpose and is part of a bigger picture. In Van Dormael's films, the point of the jokes is frequently lost. Just like in his other film 'Mr Nobody', this movie suffers from a multitude of ideas and a lack of focus. Some ideas are wonderfully poetic (being able to change the colour and pattern of the sky like a computer screen), but some are just easy slapstick (God falling into a canal because he's not able to walk on water like his daughter).

The lack of a good story becomes clear at the ending. It seems as if Van Dormael didn't know what to do after the six extra apostles have been found. The result is a bizarre scene, which is contrary to some earlier developments.

My assessment of this film is mixed: it contains some highly creative film making, which is a joy to watch, but too frequently the creativity spins out of control.
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Great comedy with poetic overtones
lucasversantvoort18 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
If director Jaco van Dormael is to be believed, God is not some incorporeal being floating in the clouds, but a sadistic man living in an apartment in Brussels with his weak-willed wife and 10-year-old daughter Ea. Even worse, it's The Old Testament God full of fire and brimstone who spends his days creating new universal laws intended to annoy people. Ea is fed up, releases everyone's dates of death and flees to the real world to find new apostles and write her own brand new testament. Yet the film contains more than just a few laughs and ends up being quite profound in a delightfully non-patronizing way.

The film is basically split into several segments, each one devoted to one of the six new apostles Ea finds. Finding them seems to be the story's main drive, but in the end it becomes about each of their stories. They all represent certain recognizable facets of human behavior: there's the businessman who, after discovering when he'll die, realizes he's been living a lie.

The film's filled to the brim with visual flair: when Man is created and wandering the Earth, his groin is censored. The man notices this and tries to get rid of this black bar covering his manhood, but to no avail. There's also a beautiful scene involving a severed hand dancing on a table as one of the apostles, a woman with a prosthetic arm watches (trust me, it works).

There's great comedy strewn about this film, but some of the funniest bits involve God having trouble getting used to life on Earth. After spending so long creating sadistic rules, it's hilarious to see him get a taste of his own medicine. Funnier still is when he protests, stating that he's God which everyone dismisses as the ranting of a raving lunatic. When he's being manhandled, he hilariously says threatens that he'll give his attackers psoriasis, warts or inflict them with a permanent case of premature ejaculation.

Not every skit holds up: the ones involving a guy tempting fate by falling off of great heights to see if he'll survive or a romance involving a gorilla wear out their welcome, but hey, when you've got a beautiful shot of someone literally embracing his own reflection, I can easily forgive. In the end, it's the film's ability to subtly convey its poetic undertones that separate it from the pack.
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Dark Satire about Religion and Life ...
aoc7775 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Jaco Van Dormael started his career as circus clown. This has given him a good feel for timing and bringing out the humour in every day life. As is traditional with clowns not everything is nice and jolly - there are also dark moments and sadness. These moments have been present in his past movies, so it comes as no surprise that this movie has some very dark moments, moments were you ask yourself, if you should really laugh at what you see, where you can feel offended. This is where the spoiler comes in form of a warning:

Start Spoiler. If you are offended by someone making fun of topics like child abuse, bestiality, voyeurism and religion avoid this movie. If you think that religion is a hoot and should be ridiculed and can laugh at how bizarre life can get - you will be entertained. End Spoiler.

Some motives in this movie will make the laughter get stuck in your throat. At other times you will just laugh at how ridiculous some of the scenes are. This is where the strength of the movie lies: It takes everything as it is, makes fun of it, but is in general respectful of the life choices of its characters (the exception being where the villain of the movie is concerned). Is this a meaningful movie? Well it is a satire and in the business of poking fun, don't expect too much. The main purpose of a clown show is to entertain not to make you think overly much, the same goes for the movie. The basic message of the movie is one of tolerance and acceptance and is pretty much in plain sight throughout.

The acting is great even in the very silly moments, of which there are plenty. The music is mainly classics but suits the movie well. The settings, costumes and effects work - especially in the bits that are deliberately badly made, it adds to the humour.

So overall, just relax & try to not get offended, laugh along and you will have a good time.
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Mythological Masterpiece
mvd-18 November 2015
This movie evokes the mythological dream-state that movies like Amélie, Big Fish and the Fifth Element represent as well. It has many layers of meaning and holds a great tension between desperation and hope, comedy and drama. It quotes other masterpieces and in doing so, adds value. It is a typical European movie, like Amélie and the Fifth Element are. It is intellectual, cynical and absurdest in a way that can easily be understood as blasphemy, irrationality or confrontational. In Amsterdam the audience applauded after the screening and I will see this movie many times, just to be able to switch between awe and analysis. The actors are well casted. Benoît Poelvoorde has a field day as the narrow- minded, unhappy patriarchal god, the revolting daughter by Pili Groyne is of heart warming simplicity and Catherine Deneuve gives a powerful and naughty rendition of Belle and the Beast. Highly recommended if you are willing to suspend your disbelief and be an enchanted child again..
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Touches on profound subjects but aims mainly to be a crowdpleaser
Jerghal19 January 2016
Le tout nouveau testament (LTNT) is Jaco Van Dormael's first new big film since the brilliant Mr. Nobody. For this he returns to his Belgian roots and makes a film about God, a grumpy, abusive middle-aged guy who lives in Brussels with his daughter and submissive wife. His daughter gets fed up and escapes to the real world. LTNT mixes self-depricating humor with drama in a visually pleasing film. The shots composition sometimes reminded me a bit of Wes Anderson's films (the dead-on shots with the character in the middle). The film is rather uplifting and lighthearted and does try to be entertainment mostly but it's not as deep or dramatic as aforementioned Mr. Nobody. Still a very good watch with great acting that should please almost anybody.
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"To give mankind the awareness of their own death...awesome!"
classicsoncall3 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
To many, this movie will seem blasphemous, but I think God has a sense of humor. After all, he appeared as a George Burns impersonator in that movie about himself back in 1977, a wonderful story actually that everyone should take a look at.

I thought this picture had pretty good potential starting out, particularly with those Laws of Universal Annoyance that the script writers came up with. Like #2129, the phone will ring whenever you get in the bathtub. But then, and perhaps because this was a European picture where they take religion even less seriously than we do here, the film starts hitting on all the liberal points of view as they regard one's personal view of God and relationship with the Almighty.

For one, the God (Benoit Poelvoorde) in this picture is a reprobate, swilling beer and generally making a nuisance of himself to his family and the rest of the world with those annoying laws of his. The apostles God's daughter Ea (Pili Groyne) selects are an assortment of random misfits, which include a killer, a sex maniac, a woman (Catherine Deneuve) who established a bestial relationship with a gorilla, and a ten year old boy who wants to be a girl. Yup, just the sort of role models one would seek out if attempting to save one's soul from the hell fires of damnation.

The one concept the story did a fairly decent job with had to do with Ea's release of the dates God had on file for when everyone in the world was going to die. In a less than absurdist film, this idea could have really been explored without the farcical elements like that guy Kevin (Gaspard Pauwels), who apparently didn't get the download that all bets were off after Mrs. God inadvertently rebooted the computer. That everyone's life would undergo some significant change if one's death could truly be known is a given, so I would have appreciated a less cynical approach. Personally, I'd like to think I was going to live forever, and in the meantime, so far, so good.
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Finally, God's daughter speaks!
ccorral41912 January 2016
The Brand new Testament (Le tout nouveau testament). Making "The Best of Fest" list, this Belgium film (French with English subtitles) breaks all the movie making rules with flying colors! When God's daughter (one rarely hears her side of the story) Ea (Pili Groyne) learns her dad is ruining the world, she speaks with her brother JC (David Murgia) about leaving her weak mom (Yolande Moreau) and running away from home like he did. With instructions on how to use the washing machine to escape, and her need to find six apostles in her travel, she rights her fathers wrongs and heads out on her own. Along her travels she comes across six individuals who know their date of death, each reacting to the news in interesting and unique ways, all the while Ea's ghost writer takes notes for "The Brand New Testament". Not since "The Truman Story" has a director (Jaco Van Dormael) been able to place the actors and audience in such an all inspiring state of misplaced reality. Along with writer Thomas Gunzig, the films intriguing twists and turns keep the audience engaged and smiling, and Catherine Deneuve appearance is a hoot.
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The other reality/religion story
kosmasp30 April 2016
This takes many things that people question about reality and turn them into comedy (bread falling always on the side that has something on it instead of the other side amongst other things). The beginning really has some drive to it and it is overall a fun movie to watch. It does take its time though, especially when it comes to "choosing" people and giving us their back-story.

The acting is good, though some of the themes will rather annoy than offend people. Whether they are atheist or religious won't matter, if you don't think it's funny. And while it's provocative, it's also sort of "respectful" in a way. Still the basic idea alone almost warrants the running time and the viewing itself.
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Re-editing the god's creation.
Reno-Rangan24 June 2016
I was looking forward for this since it was from one of my favourite directors who is a very unique storyteller. This is a fantasy and a black comedy from Belgium that was chosen to represent the country in the last Oscars. This is where the critics overtake the film fanatic to like it more. It is a theme that revolves on what would you do if you get a power to write the laws of the nature. A complicated topic, because loopholes are inevitable, but the writer and director did not care much about that and narrated the tale what they just wanted to tell.

The story centres on an arrogant and abusive father who is also the creator the universe, especially the designer of the lives on the earth and this tale takes place in the Belgian capital, Brussels. When his bored and concerned daughter Ea, runs away from home to re-edit his creation as advised by her brother JC, he goes after her to ensure everything stay as he had planned. In an unexpected confrontation between father and daughter, in the end who is going to be victorious is the rest of the narration. Remember, there is a post credit scene, which opens the door for a possible sequel, but I don't think that'll happen.

"Giving men knowledge of their own death... Crazy!"

It was a beautiful concept, but I don't think I liked the entire narration, though some of the parts were very interesting. Since it was a fantasy, logics are not required, but the lack of the basic explanation was the setback if you're a broad minded. This film is for the simple minds, especially after knowing the theme you should not anticipate a genuine tale with great adventure and stunts, particularly not visual extravaganza. It was kind of a drama-adventure, something like entering the world that created by you and experiencing all by yourself the positives and negatives of it.

Somewhat it was a fun, so definitely not a bad film, but I felt it should have been a lot more than that. Kind of a missed opportunity and falls into a simplicity. All the actors were good, especially the little girl. But I think it's not suitable for the children on the ground of a film character who is associated with sex related stuff, hence it got a few brief nudes.

The God character was awesome, even though his acts are predictable I enjoyed the comedies delivered by him. The Ea's undertaking was more a serious and which tries to relate with the Chritianity, especially 'The Last Supper' after her decision to help a few selected people down in the earth over billions. All the above it was barely a magical film, so that's where you've to compromise than to expect crazy stuffs out of it. So in my opinion, it was not delightful as it looks nor the best work of this talented director, but a decent 2 hour long film.

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God is battered by one of his priest, in Brussels
lasttimeisaw13 February 2016
Belgian director Jaco Van Dormael enjoys instant fame from his director debut TOTO THE HERO back in 1991, THE BRAND NEW TESTAMENT is technically his fifth feature-length film if one includes his hands-only experimental work KISS & CRY (2011), which also finds a niche in the movie, but for a more mainstream audience, it is the long-waited follow up to his cult fantasy MR. NOBODY 2009.

Judging by its name, this fantastic comedy blatantly satires the existence of God, who is played by Poelvoode in his crankiest temperament, a middle-aged man living in an apartment in Brussels, with his humble wife (Moreau), their daughter Ea (Groyne) and the absence of their son Jesus Christ (Murgia). God is testy, abusive to his wife and daughter, plays tricks to human beings through his omnipotent computer simply out of boredom. One day Ea is punished for sneaking into his office and realises what her father is doing in his office hour, she decides to play tit-for-tat, at first, she clandestinely sends the death countdown of everyone in Brussels from God's computer to everyone's cellphones, then crawls from the washing machine of their apartment to the real world for the first time and resolves to find 6 disciples (thanks to the instruction of J.C.), to write down a new testament, in order to save the world from being a plaything of the abominable God.

Can you buy this context? It is archetype of some less intelligent lifeforms try to envision a much profound scenario (which is in every respect out of their comprehension) with their own rather narrow knowledges, to entertain themselves, so its innate drawback is the bitter taste of self- consciousness with this paradoxical situations: in one hand, it is massively pleasing to dethrone our creator from his reverential pedal, and put him in our shoes and being ridiculed to the hilt (he is actually beaten by a priest at one time), but in the other hand, one tends to be disillusioned by this self-pleasing approach, even in our widest imagination, God is so earth-bound with human-friendly technology, and living conditions, too blasé to feel thrilled.

From the hardware department, this CGI-heavy picture looks pristine but artificial, but one cannot help but flashing a smile when sees Denueve's apostle Martine cuddling with a not-so-convincing gorilla, a knowing nod to Nagisa Oshima's MAX MON AMOUR (1986). And a revamped appendix where a Goddess to take over the power is self-pleasing to contradict the patriarchal system, but a female-friendly sky pattern or a walking with your pet fish under the sea, or swapping the gestation to male, only means something novel to experience, with no say to contend it is a better world. Still, it is a venturing project to tackle with those larger-than-life if not entirely zany propositions, most amusingly is the exposure of everyone's remaining time, turns out to be a goldmine to ridicule the vagaries of human behaviour.

The design of Ea's six disciples is to encourage ourselves to be more communicative, to open up instead of indulging in one's own propensities, and to pursue what our hearts really crave for (a repetitive troupe of a theme song for every soul). Newcomer Pili Groyne impresses with her cherubic and precocious attributes (but how come God has a daughter only ten years old? This is a minefield Dormael refuses to elucidate); supporting players are all bigger names in French- speaking cinema, but none of them is required to perform other than their characters' formulated quirks.

All in all, the intention behind Dormael's comedy is genial and it aims for distraction rather than religion-defiance, it is not a divine eye-opener like it advertises, but neither is a disappointing pap, it sits somewhere in between, quite comfortably.
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quirky and fascinating
cherold8 April 2021
I saw Jaco Van Dormael's Toto le Heros 30 years ago, thought it was brilliant, and then inexplicably never say any of Van Dormael's movies until just now, when I watched the absolutely wonderful Brand New Testament.

This crazy movie features a sadistic God who created people to make them miserable and spends all his time coming up with rules to make life worse. He lives in Brussels with a cowed wife and a young, antagonistic daughter. The latter, named Ea, decides to continue her brother Jesus' good works by going to Earth and gathering a few disciples.

I loved this movie from the first scenes of a naked, weirdly censored Adam wandering through a deserted, modern-day Brussels. The movie is crazily imaginative, as Ea cultivates a succession of oddballs, changing their lives in strange ways. The movie tackles intriguing philosophical questions like, how would we live life if we new the date we would die, while simultaneously hitting fantastical elements like exploring a romance between a woman and a great ape.

When I read reviews I was really shocked so many people didn't care for it, or thought it was just alright, but I admit this is very different so I guess that makes sense. For me, this is exactly the kind of movie I enjoy, and between this and Toto I've realized that I must seek out everything by Dormael immediately (there's surprisingly little).

Highly recommended to those who appreciate something that's funny and smart and original and out there.
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A must-see. Touching, funny, thought-provoking, lots of fun... amazing acting...
amir-lists30 September 2015
This is an amazing film. On the one hand, this is one of the most funny - and fun - movies I've seen, in years, with some great, memorable scenes and lines, superb acting - and very touching. In fact, this is one of a handful of movies that really, literally, made me cry (a bit, just out of emotions, it is a fun movie, not a tragic one!). My shedding few tears is actually funny also as it is related to one of the nice things in the movie - but I'll rather not spoil...

On the other hand: the movie is very thought-provoking (and in some aspects, simply provocative, but IMHO in a good way). It brings a very fresh viewpoint on many issues, esp. domestic abuse and esp. the horrific damages that bad parenthood may cause; but there are several more serious themes (even hactivism!) - all presented in this most joyous film.

And... acting is superb, really by all (although I think Catherine Deneuve was esp. amazing). and the film makes tribute to several classic movies... e.g. to The Truman show ...

Don't miss it!!!!
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A wasted potential
Denoument3 September 2015
I've just seen the film at the "avant-première" here in Paris. I really wanted to like it as I have great respect for everybody involved and I really loved the premise. First off, the actors are great, hats off to the younger cast. They held their ground until the last scene, but that loss of believability has much more to do with the script and directing as the ending felt artificial and rushed. Now, the beginning is good but what follows, not so much. The main character is underdeveloped, thus her journey at some point becomes repetitive and even though it is visually interesting, story-wise it is boring-ish. Speaking of visuals, the fact that it reminded me of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelié actually bothered me because it made everything sound out of tune - it was both too similar to be original and too different to be a good copy. There are some great ideas and good laughs, but all in all it could have been much much better. What's worse, it deserved to be.
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True Creativity
alexeykorovin26 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I enjoyed every minute of this movie. I was ready to give it a 10 (which I very rarely give, my avg rating on IMDb is just around 4.0) after about 15 minutes watching, and the movie kept being excellent and hilarious right to the final credits. This movie has enough innovation inside for a dozen of movies. Literally, every minute you would see a joke or a scene which you never saw anywhere before. Like, a holographic half-eaten fish which flies above the head of the boy who started eating it - and this fish wants to go back to the sea where it came from. It goes without saying that this French movie never falls to the level of toilet jokes or anywhere near that, which plagues American movies.

There is a lot of witty social satire. As an atheist hating religion I applaud to the bravery of the authors in their portrayal of the "evil" God, and their take on "J.C."'s role (they mean "Jesus Christ" but one of the characters, the "writer of the brand new testament", mistakenly thinks it's Jean-Claude Van Damme; btw I thought it's "J.C. Denton" from the Deus Ex computer game).

With all the "idiocracy" going on in the world in the last decade(s) I even wonder how this movie was made at all and how they could secure funding, because it obviously would fail to monetize and could cause a PR nightmare for the authors with all that harsh satire (even outright "blasphemy") they have there.

I love French (and Italian) movies, and this movie reinforces my respect of French cinema, and art/culture in general.

Btw, the last scene - when the goddess takes control of the world. This seems like a happy ending but notice how she picks the flowered background for the sky from a selection. Not creating the sky, like the previous god did, but simply selecting one of the options. This is exactly how the modern world of Instagram and other similar consumer trash works: simply selecting stuff, never creating or thinking up anything by themselves. I recall an argument with a colleague back in 2010 that Instagram would never pick up because similar photo effects could easily be done in Photophop, Gimp or other editors, and with much more variety, but he argued that the fact that you can apply professionally-looking editing to any photo with 1 click would attract a lot of people because that would make them feel competent, and he turned out to be right.

Well, that's just one of the hundreds of things I noticed in the movie. But the movie is full of other stuff, on other topics. Do yourself a favor and watch it.
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Deneuve Goes Ape ...
writers_reign16 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
... is as good a way as any to summarize this bizarre Belgian entry. It's from the same stable as Le Huitieme jour, which I enjoyed. Whilst the eighth day was more or less straightforward however the brand new testament is completely off the wall. The basic premise is that God is alive and well and living in Brussels and if it had been funded by the Brexit factor it couldn't have done a better job of encouraging England to get the hell out of Europe come the referendum. For reasons best known to himself God is a triple-distilled son of a bitch who takes a perverse delight in making people miserable. Mrs. God - the superb Yolande Moreau who is allotted far too little screen time - is a great hand at collecting baseball cards and is convinced that what the word needs now is 18 (two baseball teams) Apostles rather than the twelve with which our Lord made do so when God's daughter hacks into his computer the first thing she does is to appoint another six. And there you have it. This is one of those all-or-nothing movies, if you like it you'll love it, if you don't like it you'll loathe it. The choice is yours.
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Hilariously Great!
suvopyne4915 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Humor and mockery, there is a fine line between these two and in history of any form of art where humor is an objective for the artist, there has been occasions where the artist failed to make the dichotomy between humor and mockery quite distinct. The line often becomes blurred for many; and therein lie the beauty and novelty of one artist who manages to provide pure humor though the subject of his work appears to take the form mockery. Belgian filmmaker Jaco Van Dormael displays that rare talent of humor in his film The Brand New Testament.

The Brand New Testament's begins with the premise that God does exist and he lives in Brussels; with his docile wife, the Goddess, and rebellious daughter, Ea. God is tactless towards his wife and abusive towards his daughter. While he is not being those towards his family, he makes up laws on his computer, laws for worldly human. One example of those laws is 'Your phone will always ring when you are immersed in bathtub.' I think one gets the essence of the film now.

So, when Ea reaches a breaking point, after getting beaten by her father, she decides to leave her father's house after consultation with her brother Jesus Christ, who she affectionately calls JC (Yes you are reading it right). JC tells hers to find her own apostles and write a new testament. So, Ea leaves to find her apostles, but not before she gains access to her father's computer and sends everyone in the world, their day of death; and then she locked the computer so her father could not access it again. All this happens at the beginning of the first act.

By now, after reading this, one can comprehend the absurdity of the story of the film. But, what one cannot comprehend is how, with each scene, this film takes 'funny' and storytelling to another level. Ea's search of six apostles unravels the unique stories of six persons who are fighting a battle of their own now they know the day of their death. Each story, of each apostle, would resonate with us, beneath the veil of humor. That is the virtue of being a good satire and The Brand New Testament is excellent at it.

Van Dormael, who co-wrote the script with Thomas Gunzig, wields a deft direction. The dialogues are witty and hilarious at the same time. There are moments where one would hysterically burst into fits of laughter and there are moments where a melancholic chuckle would appear on one's face. Never for a moment does any oddity or any absurd scene, which you see in the film, would seem out of place or ludicrous. There is a poetic flow in the humor of the film.

The entire cast, plays their oddball characters superbly. Each character in this film is unique and forms pieces of the brilliant jigsaw display, that is this film; and all the actors rises to the occasion to portray theirs. Benoit Poelvoorde should be mentioned for wickedly mischievous and despicable portrayal of God. It his performance that makes us loathe his character and thus laugh out loud when he gets in trouble. Pil Groyne, who plays 10 years old Ea, was memorable too; and not to forget David Murgia's charming yet hilarious cameo as Jesus Christ.

The film is full of virtues, and among the glittering virtues, cinematography would take an essential spot. The film is beautifully shot. Christophe Beaucarne's camera-work deserves every praise there is not give. Choice of background score and music is also commendable.

The Brand New Testament is a film that will be etched in your memory while bringing a smile, whenever you think about it.
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Unexpected treat
kay_rock16 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this on Amazon Prime on a slow afternoon and as a fan of religious satire I thought I'd give it a go, or at least check out the first few minutes...

Two hours later I was grinning with delight.

Anyone who's ever had a moment's anger at god, whether a fictional construct or a closely held belief, should absolutely love this. Many a time in my life this has been my exact vision of god. His continuous frustration and childish tantrums were brilliant and hilarious.

The gender issues can't be ignored, with a little female Christ figure and the world-re-envisioning female deity making everything better with their feminine sensibilities. But this is definitely not a man- bashing movie at all, simply a god-mocking one. And not really mocking the high holy, for those who hold such things dear, but more like mocking the human vision of a petulant and insensitive god.

The tongue-in-cheek bits of wisdom filling in the stories of the apostles are perfect. Just perfect. It's sophomoric in the best sense of the word, naivete and wisdom tied up in a sardonic little package.

These days of multitasking sometimes make subtitles an inconvenience, but I was so wrapped up I completely forgot I was reading subtitles. I was just fully engaged.
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Strange, different kind of humor
celiaak13 September 2016
If you have a taste for strange, different kind of humor, then The Brand New Testament (Le tout nouveau testament) is for you. God lives in Brussels with his wife and 10 years old daughter, in an apartment without windows or doors. He is a bad husband and father, and spend his time having fun with his human and nature creations, creating laws and disasters. One day his daughter has access to his computer...

It is a comedy where you have dense characters, and no one laughs, only you. You will find connection between all little elements and actions of the movie, and that is geniously amazing!

Just go and see it!
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God damn awful in Brussels
frukuk15 September 2019
Massively underdeveloped. An interesting idea, potentially, but the parts just didn't come together to produce a satisfying whole. Perhaps it simply wasn't absurd enough? (And I found it sad, rather than funny.)

Why have the gods of great cinema forsaken us?
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In modern replay of Bible, God's daughter overthrows his malevolent tyranny
maurice_yacowar28 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Even more explicitly than Howard Hawks's Red River, The Brand New Testament replays the transition from the harsh vengeful god of the Old Testament to the loving forgiving deity of the New. Where the John Wayne authority gives way to the sensitive Montgomery Clift in that Western, here the father/God's cruelty and arbitrariness are rejected by the young daughter who revolts against him.

Of course that's how a genre can accommodate an archetypal myth. Here the genre is the family sit-com. JC, the father/God's son, has escaped the family but hasn't been able to improve the world sufficiently. Hence the contemporary setting, where God has preferred a murderous absurd world for his own amusement.

The son having failed, now the feminine has to intervene. The young daughter Ea is the main heroine but she is abetted when her long suppressed mother — amid her domestic (i.e., cleaning) role — enables a reset that saves everyone and fills the heavens with flower wallpaper. Her projection of Interior Design is better than his ostensibly Intelligent.

In playing this theology against the context of a family sit-com (where the omniscient Father hardly knows best), the film's essential assumption is that the first wave of Christianity has failed us. Jehovah's wars and frustrations have thwarted the Son's lessons of peace and harmony.

Ea's initial revolt is to release to the world everyone's date of death. With that new and most forbidden knowledge, people lose their dependency upon God. No longer having to please him, they are prompted to redefine their lives and themselves. Each of Ea's six new apostles represents a different form of self-discovery and humanizing. The last apostle actually converts from boy to girl.

The most evocative is the matured beauty Catherine Deneuve who escapes her cold tyrant husband first with a rent boy and then, more rewardingly, with a loving gorilla. In Ea's new regime the most savage is turned into loving and the cold Christian "civility" is overthrown. Similarly another woman's insentient prosthetic arm becomes her bond with her new lover, whom her love converts from killer. In a reversal of the Eden myth, another man is led out of his self-restriction in a city park to the antithetic freedom of the Arctic. No longer at two with nature, he's led there by a flock of birds he can choreograph into visual patterns.

The film's first and essential joke is that in this theology Creation happened in modern Brussels. But far from a radical idea, that revives an essential tenet of Christianity: the eternal and pervasive presence of our divinity and our eternal battle with temptation and evil. Further, as man made God in his own image (though he arrogantly pretends the reverse), there's a certain logic in this God being a short-fused murderous and malicious abuser of women and children. That's the force we see dominating our globe.
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Shows great premise but fails to deliver.
ClaraBosswald27 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
God exists. He lives in Brussels, and he's kind of an a*shole. He spends his days in his office, inventing laws that will spoil people's lives. Until one day, his daughter Ea releases the decease dates to everyone and escapes their flat to join the real world. The first act of this movie shows great premise. Van Dormael's surrealist style gives you the joy to watch giraffes in the streets of Brussels and chickens watching movies. All of it works. Benoit Poelvorde is hilarious as a bitter, mean old man. Then Ea escapes the apartment and everything goes wrong. After releasing the decease dates, Ea is out to write a 'Brand New Testament' and has to find six apostles for some reasons. The story goes nowhere. Ea just picks six random people to be her apostles, and meets each one of them, one after another, telling them the same story about her mean dad and her brand new testament. It gets redundant after three apostles, tiring after four, and insufferable after six. The movie has countless whimsical, beautiful scenes, but they're empty. Each characters feels like an excuse for Van Dormael to shoehorn a couple quotes and more surrealist images. None of those characters feels real for a second. It's slow and dreadfully paced. You just spend the second act begging Benoit Poelvoord to come back until he finally hears your plea shortly before the end of the movie.
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