Corpus Christi

Directed by Jan Komasa
Film Movement
2019
116 Minutes
Poland
Polish
Drama
Not Rated

Anchored by a “dynamically physical, wild-eyed performance” (The Hollywood Reporter) from newcomer Bartosz Bielenia, CORPUS CHRISTI is an incisive, darkly humorous, and “engrossing exploration of faith, second chances and the possibility of atonement” (Screen).

After spending years in a Warsaw prison for a violent crime, 20-year-old Daniel is released and sent to a remote village to work as a manual laborer. The job is designed to keep the ex-con busy, but Daniel has a higher calling. Over the course of his incarceration he has found Christ, and aspires to join the clergy - but his criminal record means no seminary will accept him. When Daniel arrives in town, one quick lie allows him to be mistaken for the town’s new priest, and he sets about leading his newfound flock. Though he has no training, his passion and charisma inspire the community. At the same time, his unconventional sermons and unpriestly behavior raise suspicions among some of the townsfolk - even more so as he edges towards a dark secret that the community hasn't revealed in the confessional booth.

Director & Cast

Trailer

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Reviews

  • "Jan Komasa’s CORPUS CHRISTI is a stunning Polish feature which has made waves at Venice and deserves further global recognition. Poland may have quite the strong Oscar contender with this film which shares the elegance, complexity and layered narrative approach as Oscar favorites THE HUNT (Denmark) and LOVELESS (Russia). A story that packs an emotional punch while offering fresh themes and interesting perspectives on religion and faith, this is a striking feature that is impressive in every sense of the word and one of the year’s best directed films – foreign or otherwise."
    Mina Takla, AwardsWatch
  • "Critic's Pick. Compelling...powerful...."
    Peter Debruge, Variety
  • "Original and absorbing. What is true faith and what's fakery is a question that runs through Polish director Jan Komasa's slow-burn drama Corpus Christi, its dark intensity channeled in a dynamically physical, wild-eyed performance from talented young lead Bartosz Bielenia. "
    David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
  • "Often moving but also disquieting and even intermittently funny, this drama unfurls a spiritual parable that is uniquely Polish but accessible to all. Piotr Sobociński’s blue-toned cinematography enhances the rapturous air and enhances a smartly written, unsettling work of realism."
    Leslie Felperin, The Guardian
  • "[A]n engrossing exploration of faith, second chances and the possibility of atonement. "
    Allan Hunter, Screen Daily
  • "In his superb new movie, Jan Komasa investigates the social dynamics of a small community that gets a new priest who hides his true identity."
    Ola Salwa, Cineuropa
  • "It's flawless storytelling, effortlessly played and with a rousing, if bloody, conclusion."
    Kevin Maher, The Times (UK)
  • "An intelligent and provocative film which alternately charms and unsettles, Corpus Christi is Poland's entry for the 2020 Best Foreign Language Oscar. It's a small torn drama with much bigger connotations and it thoroughly deserves its place on the world stage."
    Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
  • "The film works in spite of a familiar redemption arc due to Bartosz Bielenia’s fantastic performance. The young actor manages to endows the character with both a nervous violent surge and a wise, empathetic human. His piercing eyes and features reminiscent someone whose faith in humanity and all its emotions have the power to change."
    Shikhar Verma, High on Films
  • "Bielenia delivers a fantastic performance...."
    Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage
  • "Shot in icy blues, greens, and greys, this is a harsh, sad world with no happy endings in sight. Yet Komasa finds much humour in this premise, creating a wise satire of not just the church but the way people use their beliefs to justify their own bad behaviour...."
    Alex Heeney, Seventh Row
  • "If Oscars were decided according to the speed with which voters flipped out when they stared into the eyes of the principal character, “Corpus Christi” would be an easy winner. Corpus Christi” is neither a parable nor an allegory, yet image after image seems charged with intent, from the opening shot—of carpenters’ saws, grating to and fro like instruments of torture—to the climax, an apocalyptic welter of fire and blood. This Daniel has no need to enter a lions’ den. If I were a lion, I’d be afraid to enter his."
    Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
  • "Corpus Christi is a one-of-a-kind film that is funny, fresh, moving and one of 2019's best."
    Hanna B., Film Threat
  • "It's a smart, absorbing, impressive drama."
    William Bibbiani, The Wrap
  • "Corpus Christi is ... beautifully real, tenderly sketching pained characters in need of a saviour. Sometimes, reality and heart are all a film needs to propel it towards touching excellence. **** (4 stars)"
    Dan Sareen, Flickering Myth
  • "Corpus Christi is simply brilliant."
    Quelle Movies
  • "[I]t’s an understated, fierce masterpiece that deserves to be remembered as one of the finest films of 2019. A powerful, unforgettable and challenging film in its own way, Corpus Christi asks vital questions about the true meaning of redemption and belief. "
    Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, The Blue Lenses
  • "Bartosz Bielenia’s central performance as Daniel is worth the price of admission."
    Michael McNeely, That Shelf
  • "Komasa directs with a conviction that also drives the mesmerising Bielenia...."
    David Parkinson, Radio Times
  • "...powerfully intense.... It’s a disturbingly beautiful portrayal of denial, compassion, forgiveness, and love set in an unlikely place by an equally unlikely character."
    Pamela Powell, Reel Honest Reviews
  • "Corpus Christi doesn’t skimp on the humanity; the film earns the slow smiles it brings to your face. But it also has its eyes on a different endgame than you think it does regarding this white lie, and by the time the movie decides to come full circle, it’s setting up a climactic shot that’s a 100-watt jolt. It also somehow makes perfect sense. Salvation isn’t a final destination. It’s a journey."
    David Fear, Rolling Stone
  • "What an astounding religious drama, and what a beautifully realistic morality play."
    William BIbbiani, The Wrap
  • "An electrifying canvas of youth in trouble and in crisis of identity, Komasa crafted an affecting and scandalous story about faith, compassion, resilience and human values."
    Roger Costa, Brazilian Press
  • "Can all sins be forgiven? What constitutes redemption? How much mercy does God expect us to show one another in this fallen world? The director Jan Komasa considers these questions with admirable rigor in Poland’s deeply felt Catholic drama Corpus Christi, a deserved Oscar nominee this winter for Best International Film...."
    Kyle Smith, National Review
  • "Directed by Jan Komasa in only his third feature and starring a complexly compelling Bartosz Bielenia, this is a blistering drama, intense, disturbing and inescapably thought-provoking, a film that gets its power from a merging of potent opposites. On one side are all the elements of a classic thriller: agonizing tension, the constant air of potential doom, the sense that anything could happen at any moment to bring on chaos and ruin. But these qualities cluster not around questions of espionage, violent crime or high-stakes robbery but rather ideas that are unapologetically philosophical. What is the nature of sin, of belief? What deep needs does religion fill and how does it go about filling them? Overshadowing everything is the biggest, most provocative question of all: Who gets to speak for God?Expertly written by Mateusz Pacewicz, tautly directed by Komasa and filled with twists and surprises, “Corpus Christi” is riveting right up to its closing frame. The thrilling narrative power of complex moral decisions is simply not to be denied."
    Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
  • "[T]he power and the glory of “Corpus Christi” reside in the film’s leading man, whose ineffable combination of wildness and purity makes for an absolutely electrifying central performance."
    Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
  • "Writer Mateusz Pacewicz and Komasa’s story is a restless interrogation of authority and the difference between piety and the appearance of piety. It’s pleasingly unpredictable to the very end."
    Will Coviello, Gambit

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