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Berlin Film Review: ‘By the Grace of God’

There’s of-the-moment cinema and then there’s on-the-moment cinema, ripped so freshly from the headlines that the filmmaking still bears a few ink smudges. An engrossing, whole-hearted dramatization of the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal behind the ongoing trial of Philippe Barbarin, the Archbishop of Lyon, François Ozon’s “By the Grace of God” doesn’t attempt to hide the in-progress nature of its narrative. It even concludes with a title card announcing that the verdict in Barbarin’s trial will be delivered on March 7, four weeks after the finished film’s Berlinale premiere; by the time many audiences get to see it, subsequent developments will have added different emotional hues to its onscreen ending.

That immediacy is both a virtue and a slight hindrance in a project that doesn’t play to Ozon’s usual strengths. Such a boon to his elegant genre pieces, his tricky, ahead-of-the-game authority

See full article on Variety