2009 [FRENCH]


Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 73%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 51%
IMDb Rating 6.7 10 1994

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN
August 30, 2022 at 09:28 PM


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965.94 MB
fre 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 45 min
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1.94 GB
fre 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 45 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by tigerfish50 6 / 10

The lover's journey to the Beloved

'Hadewijch' is loosely based on the poems of a 13th century female Christian mystic who lived in Belgium. Little is known of her life other than it's been deduced that she came from wealthy stock and didn't belong to a convent. Director Dumont utilizes this background to fashion a contemporary allegory of the seeker's journey to God. He begins his story with a young novice nun, Celine, being expelled from her convent for obsessive self-mortification. The young woman appears to be more disturbed and confused than a true seeker after enlightenment, and her eccentric behavior is partially explained by alienation from disinterested worldly parents after she returns to her family's palatial Parisian townhouse.

Celine begins hanging out with some working class North African Muslim men, empathizing with their religious devotion - and when she expresses her spiritual fervor in extreme terms, they start to consider her as a potential suicide bomber. A number of medieval Christians learned contemplative disciplines from Sufi mystics, and this plot device may be a metaphor for ego annihilation, while simultaneously suggesting all religions are just winding roads leading to the same God. Unfortunately 'Hadewijch' is burdened with too many ponderously slow shots and silent passages that spoil the narrative flow. Celine's story of spiritual longing and repentance might have been told more eloquently if the film had borrowed some of the conventional style of 'Vision' - a biographical account of another medieval female mystic, Hildegard von Bingen - just as that film in its turn could have used some of 'Hadewijch's' intensity and imagination.

Reviewed by tentender 8 / 10

Provocational and beautiful film

This will be barely a stub, but I've just seen this film at the NY Film Festival, and found myself quite startled by its powerful effect on my mind and emotions. Dumont is a bit of an enigma in that his stories deal with events and issues that seem to be inflammatory (child rape in "L'Humanite", Islamic fundamentalist terror in this film) and yet manages to cloak these issues in such enigmatic human behavior that one's own opinions (or prejudices) are put aside, at least while viewing and thinking about the films. In "L'Humanite," for instance, the identity of the rapist/murderer is completely obscured. One character (who seems very possibly a likely suspect) confesses to the crime, at which point the inspector (the film's leading character and a very odd bird he is) leaves the room -- and in the final image it is he, not the man who confessed, who is seen in handcuffs. Very startling indeed! And it has confused me for a long time. But watching "Hadewijch" tonight, it occurred to me that this ending is meant to convey that both characters are responsible: Joseph (the confessed rapist) may have committed the crime (or was it really Pharaon -- the inspector -- and Joseph has confessed out of love for him? -- they have a very intimate almost sexual moment after the confession) but Pharaon assumes, as Joseph's friend, the responsibility. In reading Dumont's published script, it is clear that he intends Joseph to be the guilty party -- but of course that is just a script -- "L'Humanite" is a film. Similarly, in "Hadewijch" we get close enough to all the characters to feel that their obsessions come out of their basic human needs (however distorted) and thus we are slow to judge them. Dumont revealed, when asked at a post-showing discussion, that he does not believe in God, but that he does believe in man's spiritual life, that the spiritual is found IN life. Somehow, I found this very much in tune with my own perception of his intentions. It is a very beautiful, humanistic cinema that Dumont is creating, but I wonder how many viewers feel comfortable with this level of ambiguity (including, perhaps, me!).

Reviewed by tjackson 8 / 10

A Meditation on Faith and Fanaticism

Dumont explores the fine line between martyrdom, fanaticism, faith, and delusion in this meditative (some will call slow paced) look at a young Christian fanatic who befriends a group of 'terrorist' Muslims. Throughout there's a degree of sexual threat and violence so present in his films, as well as the very physical presence of nature, of weather, of the elements. It's an edgy mix, yet most of the time we're looking at the world through the vulnerable searching eyes and face of Julie Sokolowski as Céline/Hadewijch, the latter being a 13th century mystic who also sublimated courtship for a love to God, and who also took no vows as a nun. As Celine, the girl is sent from the convent for being too extreme in her devotion. She begins to naively explore the real world. Like the earlier poet and mystic Hadewijch – into whom she slowly seems to be transforming – Celine is also from a very wealthy family, a fact that sets up another set of questions and contrasts in this contemporary context. I love looking at the faces director Dumont offers up, and as always he sets up situations that call out for argument and conversation. The ending is sudden and unexpected, and you are left to question not only what might happen next, but to where exactly has the director led us.


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