There have always been religious films since the invention of motion pictures. Early films such as Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ and Cecil B DeMille’s King of Kings wetted audiences appetites of silent cinema audience. Since then, The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur and The Passion of Christ are probably the most well-known. In The Brand New Testament director Jaco Van Dormael follows in the steps of Dogma and The Life of Brian to produce a brilliant black comedy.
You’ll be well aware of the work of her older brother JC, but Ea (Pili Groyne) has spent the ten years of her life locked up in a house in Brussels. She lives with her ill-tempered and abusive father, God (Benoît Poelvoorde), and her meek mother (Yolande Moreau). God, it turns out, is an arrogant sadist who revels in making the lives of humans as miserable as possible. Ea is not happy about this and decides to do something about it. Along with her scribe, Victor (Marco Lorenzini), she begins to write her own testament.
The Brand New Testament is a beautifully sardonic black comedy which mixes surreal aspects of films such as Amelie with deeply human stories. There are some beautiful imaginative touches and a lot of heart amongst the rye comedy. Benoît Poelvoorde is magnificent as the cranky and irascible omnipotent one. The Brave New Testament is an offbeat and irreverently entertaining black comedy which hits all the right notes.
The Brand New Testament is out in cinemas on Friday.