'Corpus Christi' DVD: Oscar Nomination & 49 Wins for Tale of Young Offender Offenses Including Impersonating Priest
The recent Film Movement Blu-ray release of the Oscar-nominated 2019 Polish movie "Corpus Christi," which has 49 awards to its credit, further solidifies the pandemic-era sentiment of "cineplexes; we don't need no stinkin' cineplexes." A large portion of this love comes via the 2020 Polish Film Awards.
Most of this success is attributable to the spot-on performance of Bartosz Bielenia as 20 year-old former juvie inmate Daniel. The accolades for him include a Best Actor win at the 2019 Chicago International Film Festival.
The following Movement trailer for "Corpus" provides a taste of why this film, which looks and sounds terrific in Blu-ray, has such critical acclaim and why Movement deserves great thanks for making it highly accessible to audiences in North America.
Our story begins with Daniel serving the final days of his unfortunate incarceration. An opening scene in the facility woodworking shop graphically shows both the sadistic cruelty of the place and the kindness of Daniel.
More important exposition comes when Daniel attends Mass conducted by father-figure (no pun intended) Father Tomasz, who knows how to reach those kids. An amusing aspect of this is the universal valued treat of the promise of holding class outside. Tomasz telling Daniel that his criminal record precludes acceptance at a seminary provides the final element for what is to come.
Daniel is set to begin his probation-related job in a small rural community when a chance encounter that involves both pride and other elements that contribute to youthful indiscretions leads to telling the barely legal daughter of the resident church lady that he is a priest. A series of unfortunate circumstance soon lead to Daniel temporarily taking over the parish. The expectations-defying backstory there is one of many things that make "Corpus" so special.
The local drama into which Daniel becomes immersed revolves around a recent fatal car accident between a group of local kids who were out getting footloose and a middle-aged man with a history of alcoholism. This time the youth of Daniel plays a role as to the sanctioned hostility toward the widow of the man and the posthumous disdain for the guy, who was not proven to be drunk at the time of the accident. Daniel soon learning the rest of the story does not help calm the holier-than-thou waters.
One of the best scenes has Daniel hanging out Christ-style with his peers; this group of bored, young, broke townies engage in the behavior that is typical for such groups, This also involves one of the most memorable lines in the film as to one particular illicit substance being a gift from God. This observation adds a new perspective regarding church services involving overwhelming amounts of incense.
Daniel further makes waves by directly and indirectly taking pages from the book of Tomasz while preaching to the choir and the rest of the congregation. The message here is that all clergy should speak from the heart and show the same youthful enthusiasm as the new kid on the block.
It is not surprising that the past (and the subterfuge) of Daniel come back to haunt him. This relates to the only aspect of "Corpus" that requires blind faith regarding suspension of disbelief as to Daniel pulling off this fraud for weeks without even the regional church hierarchy becoming suspicious.
Daniel responding to the threat of exposure in a manner that is very true to his personal nature and his faith is another highlight. One almost expects him to hop up on a cross and hand his malicious accuser a hammer and a handful of nails.
Both the quality of "Christi" and it being filmed overseas reduce the chance of a Hollywood ending.
The Blu-ray extras include the well-matched short film "Nice to See You" by "Corpus" director Jan Komasa.