Eyes on Screen are now proud to acknowledge the Lincoln Film Society. The Society is a voluntarily run, not-for-profit organisation. Each year, they organise a programme of screenings, offering the very best of contemporary world cinema. This allows beautiful films with little or no exposure to take centre stage in Lincoln. For their 2016-17 season, Eyes on Screen will be reviewing each film screened. For more information on the Lincoln Film Society, please visit their website. For the latest news, you can also like their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter.
The following review is of The Brand New Testament (Belgium, France, Luxembourg: 2015) – screening #1 of the Society’s 2016-17 season, shown on Friday 16th September 2016.
The Brand New Testament follows Ea (Pili Groyne), the daughter of God (Benoît Poelvoorde). In her endeavours to overthrow the regulations placed by Him, she creates life through His computer. Upon escaping her captivity, she releases the death dates for the entire population, as well as choosing the six disciples she must recruit for her journey to succeed. These elements of the narrative provide an original outlook on the themes of religion and society, but also present a comedic experience that differs from the norm.
This feature holds numerous layers. Though it may be the hilarity which draws attention, the film contains a masterfully written plot that is simply compelling. This is most prominent through the release of the death dates, allowing the depiction of a multitude of interesting plot points about the apostles; the way they react to the date of their passing comes across very human. Each react differently, but all become completely changed. Indeed, when faced with one’s mortality, it would be difficult to continue living the same life. The exceptional screenplay creates multiple characters who feel very real in a narrative that is so far from the realms of reality.
The performances in this film are impeccable. As child actors go, Pili Groyne has to be considered highly. Her leading role could be put against any of the other players in this feature, aside from one. Benoît Poelvoorde’s portrayal of a bitter, powerless God is a real treat to watch. A man with so much power but with such a fragile hold, he embodies paranoid authority and laughable desperation. His character also raises philosophical questions. If god was real, how would He act? Surely a being with such authority would be self-righteous.
Very little hinders the viewing of The Brand New Testament. From the unique humour to the lavish set of players, there is little to complain about. Serving to question many aspects about life and society, it still manages to be hugely comedic.
Written by Christian Robson