Palace Nova Cinemas from 22 October. Preview screenings from 2 July
Review by Geoff Jenke
Corpus Christi is the story of a 20-year-old Daniel who experiences a spiritual transformation while living in a Youth Detention Centre. He wants to become a priest but this is impossible because of his criminal record. When he is sent to work at a carpenter’s workshop in a small town, on arrival he dresses up as a priest and accidentally takes over the local parish. The arrival of the young, charismatic preacher is an opportunity for the local community to begin the healing process after a tragedy that happened there.
Corpus Christi was inspired by true events. There was one case, which actually generated some headlines in Poland, of a boy who impersonated a priest for about three months. His name was Patryk and he was probably 19 years old at the time. Mateusz Pacewicz, who wrote the script, wrote an article about it and that’s how this entire film came into being. The name was changed to Daniel, but the characters are similar and so is the way that led him to this small town. This boy performed weddings, baptisms and conducted funeral ceremonies. In fact, at times Daniel offers more solace than the regular priest he is replacing.
The film is not colourful, in fact quite often looks like it is filmed with a grey tinge which suits the story nicely. If you didn’t know the storyline, one would think at the beginning this was going to be a movie about prison life but this was only setting up the story to come. Bartosz Bielenia plays the part of Daniel brilliantly, a young man thrust upon the duties of being a priest without any forethought of what he was accepting. While we wait for the inevitability of him being found out he is not actually a priest, we see Daniel gain confidence in everything he does as a priest, giving sermons, last rites to the dying and teaching the villagers forgiveness and redemption.
It is a haunting and at times deeply moving movie about salvation. While it gets intense at times, the movie is easy to watch and just occasionally gives us a smile. Don’t miss it.
Corpus Christi – Season opens October 22 at Palace Nova cinemas.