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In the (Art)House

Corpus Christi

23 March

In the (Art)House showcases our most anticipated arthouse films,
coming soon to Palace Cinemas.

“Powerful… flawless storytelling, effortlessly played.”
Kevin Maher, THE TIMES

Corpus Christi, directed by Jan Komasa, is a Polish film that follows (piercingly blue-eyed) Daniel as he is released from his sentence in juvenile detention. Recently experiencing a spiritual transformation by finding Christianity, Daniel wishes to work for the seminary but due to his past cannot. Disillusioned and not wanting to fall into backbreaking labour at the sawmill where he has been instructed to go, Daniel heads to the local church, and after bluffing his way in, decides to fraudulently minister a small-town parish.

Nominated for Best International Feature at the 92nd Academy Awards, Corpus Christi is a quiet musing of the innate, inescapable ambiguities of faith and the troubling role that deception can play in keeping the peace. Lead by a striking and star-making performance by Bartosz Bielenia, Daniel nimbly moves about the grey area of morality and sheds light on the hypocrisy of leaders and the village’s corruption, embodying the truest sense of a spiritual leader, full of compassion and promoting peace and love but ultimately falling victim to the same hypocrisy.

Daniel wrestles throughout the film with unspoken guilt and ironically offers confession to others, shouldering their grief and emotional baggage plus his own, while also pushing the town to acknowledge a recent tragedy that has affected the entire community, one that few have been able to speak about.  It’s not just Daniel being the weight of a guilty conscience, each character has their own guilt and shame to contend with, and it’s in this moral ambiguity that the film finds its strength and resonance.

This is a film that really makes you think about what compassion and forgiveness truly takes, and the turmoil and anguish it forces you to confront.  The right way is the hardest, even if that way is ironically lead by a character deceiving everyone, but it shows that there is love and hope in redemption and only pain in punishment.

Widely hailed by critics and audiences as the stand-out discovery of the 2019 Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, CORPUS CHRISTI became a box office sensation in Poland, overtaking Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War by achieving over 1.35 million admissions. It demands – and deserves – equal international attention.

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