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|Originaltitel:||Grâce à Dieu|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 137 min.|
|FSK:||6 years and older|
Alexandre (Melvil Poupaud) leads a quiet, peaceful life in Lyon with his wife and children. He successfully suppresses the demons of his childhood until one day he learns that the priest who abused him in his scout days still works with children. Alexandre knows that he can no longer remain silent. He must prevent other children from suffering the same fate as him. In his fight for justice he meets great resistance, but he also gets support from two other victims, François (Denis Ménochet) and Emmanuel (Swann Arlaud). Together they collect the testimonies of many more victims. All these men give each other the strength to break the silence that lies over their martyrdom. Their resistance is getting bigger and bigger and triggers an avalanche that cannot be stopped at the end …
The factual events around the abuse scandal in Lyon François Ozon has processed in a fictional film. Praised be to God", awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the Berlinale 2019, is based on many long conversations that Ozone has had with victims of abuse and their families, but also on correspondence between the Church and the victims. Ozon originally wanted to make a documentary out of this, but then decided to make a feature film. He took great care to stay as close as possible to the facts, to reproduce the characters and the story as authentically as possible, without becoming too sensational or even kitschy.
The result is technically fascinating and emotionally shocking. Fascinating because Ozon succeeds in creating a tension almost exclusively from dialogues that captivates the viewer for over two hours. People talk a lot, mostly in small rooms or in cafés. These are rather reduced settings that don't necessarily have the powerful visual language one would expect from a movie. But it doesn't even need that to be great cinema. Because that's what the great actors and the very good script deliver in every moment of the drama. Precisely because both the actors in their play and the director in his production completely dispense with dramaturgical exaggeration and let the words speak for themselves, the whole thing has such an intense effect.
"Praised be God" does not accuse faith. Not even the institution church as a whole. Rather blatant omissions within the Catholic Church are pointed out, which on the part of the abuse victims are to be met by an end of their silence. And that's why cohesion and fighting together are so important. The movie shows that no victim is alone, that her sorrow can never be forgotten, but that it is easier to bear it together. A gripping plea for courage and cohesion that once again shows what a strong, versatile and always surprising filmmaker François Ozon is. Absolutely worth seeing!
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