French films review - September 2018
A critical eye on the latest ciné releases
The Apparition, Dir: Xavier Giannoli; 138 mins
Frazzled after one war reporting mission too many – and a tragic recent personal loss in the Middle East – newspaper journalist Jacques (the ever-magnificent Vincent Lindon) returns to the relative tranquility of his native France.
However, his next job soon comes along – and it is an unusual one from an unexpected source: The Vatican.
The Catholic church asks him to carry out a canonical investigation, to determine the veracity of a teenage girl’s reported sighting of the Virgin Mary.
For someone who admits to not even believing in God (“I think there may be something, but I am not a believer”) this is the ultimate test of Jacques’ scepticism.
He is immediately fascinated by the girl (a super turn by Galatea Bellugi as Anna), who tells him: “I am not a liar”. He believes her, as do the crowds already making a pilgrimage to the apparition site in the Alps. But the church is less convinced, even if they feel protective of the girl: “The Church will always prefer to miss a true miracle rather than to recognize an sham,” admits a young priest.
What follows is a detective story imbued with reflections on evidence-based rationality and inner conviction. So is girl really telling the truth?
Racer and the Jailbird
A female racing driver (Bibi) and a male bank robber (Gigi) form a hi-octane couple in this entertaining action-drama.
The English title is less pleasing than the original: La Fidèle (The Faithful One).