2018 ( France | Belgium ) ( Crime, Drama)
( French with English subtitles )
Starring: Melvil Poupaud, Denis Ménochet, Swann Arlaud
Director: François Ozon
‘By the Grace of God’ is a powerful, meticulously researched and vital film about true events that took the Catholic Church in France to court and changed the future of Catholicism forever. The film begins in 2014 as Alexandre Guérin (Melvil Poupaud) discovers that Fr. Bernard Preynat (Bernard Verley), the priest who he believed to have been defrocked for sexually abusing him, is not only still a priest, but is still working with children. He contacts the Archbishop of Lyon, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin (François Marthouret), but the Church won’t take the matter much further, citing the 20-year statute of limitations.
Francois Ozon’s gripping drama follows three men who band together to dismantle the code of silence that continued to protect Preynat. It is an intense and engrossing film which highlights their revulsion of how easily the church fostered the cover up of the abusive priest despite knowing he was guilty.