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By the Grace of God (Grâce à Dieu) – Francois Ozon

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #35. By the Grace of God (Grâce à Dieu) – Francois Ozon

Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #35. By the Grace of God (Grâce à Dieu) – Francois Ozon

By the Grace of God

Francois Ozon’s eighteenth feature, By the Grace of God /Grâce à Dieu (previously known as Alexandre) promises to be one of the filmmaker’s most provocative exercises since his titles from the late 1990s. Revisiting a sex abuse scandal involving a Roman Catholic priest who was recently indicted after several victims filed lawsuits accusing him of abuse from 1986 to 1991, Ozon reunites with his Time to Leave (2005) and The Refuge (2009) star Melvil Poupaud who plays one of the three men who came forward. The cast also includes Denis Menochet, Swann Arlaud, Josiane Balasko, and Eric Caravaca. The film is being produced by Eric and Nicolas Altmayer for Mandarin Production (who have produced his past six titles) and co-produced by Scope Pictures. Ozon has long been a fixture in major film competitions, including three times in Cannes (Swimming Pool, 2003; Young & Beautiful, 2013; Double Lover, 2017), three times in Venice (5×2, 2004; Potiche, 2010; Frantz, 2016) and four times in Berlin (Water Drops on Burning Rocks, 2000; 8 Women, 2002; Angel, 2007; Ricky, 2009), winning the Teddy in 2000.

Gist: Ozon’s script centers on Alexandre (Poupaud), a man in his 40s living with his wife and kids in Lyon. When he discovers the priest who abused him decades prior is still working with children, he joins forces with two other men to reveal the priest’s indiscretions.

Release Date/Prediction: Production wrapped last spring on By the Grace of God after a nine-week shoot in France and Belgium. Ozon will be competing for the Golden Bear a fifth time at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is IONCINEMA.com's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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