Corpus Christi

2019 | Drama | 116 minutes | Polish with English subtitles

Info

Daniel, in prison for second-degree murder, has a spiritual awakening. He wants to study for the priesthood when he is released. However, he is told that no seminary will accept him because he has a criminal record. He is finally offered probation on the condition that he takes a job at a sawmill in a remote village. Shortly after arriving in town, Daniel visits the local church where he meets Marta, a parishioner. As she pumps Daniel about his background, he blurts out he’s a priest. She disbelieves him. To convince her, he shows her the white collar he was given while in prison. Marta introduces Daniel to the vicar who fully accepts Daniel. When the vicar goes to rehab to cure an alcohol problem, he implores Daniel to take on full responsibility of being the church’s priest. Daniel’s background and painful history makes him an unorthodox priest filled with homespun advice and compassion. Daniel is now cherished by many of the parishioners. When a woman during confession admits she has sinned when she hit her son for smoking, instead of telling her to say a few Hail Mary prayers, Daniel advises her to take her son for a bike ride. One day Daniel encounters a person who served in prison with him. He threatens to expose Daniel unless he receives a substantial amount of money. Daniel refuses. In a Farewell Mass, Daniel removes his vestments showing his tattoos. The congregants realize he is a fraud. The extortionist betrays Daniel and he is sent back to prison for violating his probation. In prison, Daniel must now deal with some very big problems.  

Cast
Bartosz Bielenia (Daniel/Father Tomasz) / Eliza Rycembel (Marta)
Why Stream This Film?
Corpus Christi raises the intriguing question: is it okay for a person to fudge the truth, fabricate an entire persona, in order to find redemption? Daniel does that when he arrives  for a job in a sawmill and finds he can fake being a priest. Surprisingly, he finds he’s good at it! Meanwhile, the town gets a priest with an unusual homespun style and the ability to provide badly needed compassion. For example, in one  sermon, he preaches that “Confession solves nothing. True penance comes when the sinner takes action to correct a sin.” A great premise brilliantly dramatized.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 97%
  • Metacritic Score: 77
Accolades
  • Academy Awards: Nominated, Best International Feature Film
  • Chicago International Film Festival: Winner, Best Actor (Bartosz Bielenia)
  • Venice International Film Festival: Winner, Best Feature Film
  • Palm Springs International Film Festival: Winner, Best Actor (Bartos  Bielenia)
Directed by Jan Komasa in only his third feature and starring a 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. 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

It’s a film that engages with the dour without becoming bitter, and a film that allows for redemption but only through the hardest possible work. It’s a film that’s built on a lie but sees only the underlying truth. What an astounding religious drama and what a beautifully realistic morality play.
William Bibbiani

The Wrap

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