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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

The Brand New Testament (Le tout nouveau testament) movie review: the divine feminine

The Brand New Testament green light

MaryAnn’s quick take…
Hilarious satire about rebooting religion with a goddess in charge this time. A little bit Douglas Adams, a little bit Terry Gilliam, a whole lot irreverent.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

God is real. He lives in Brussels. Also, he is a real jerk: cruel, mean-spirited, and capricious, deploying his most ultimate of power to spread fear and hatred, and to make sure that your toast always lands butter side down. None of this should come as any surprise. But you probably weren’t aware that God (Benoît Poelvoorde: Coco Before Chanel) has a wife (Yolande Moreau: Amelie) and a 10-year-old daughter, Ea (Pili Groyne: Two Days, One Night), whom he keeps crushed under his abusive thumb. Ea, though, has had enough, and in the way of many a fed-up tween, she rebels, pulling a carefully considered prank on her father that undermines his authority with the humans and heading out into the mortal world for the first time ever — like her brother JC once did — to collect some apostles and try to fix the mess her father has made of humanity. Director and screenwriter (with Thomas Gunzig) Jaco Van Dormael has given us a dark fantasia and a hilarious satire that’s a little bit Douglas Adams, a little bit Terry Gilliam, and a whole lot irreverent, one that celebrates all the weird and wonderful ways that love can express itself in the world once we stop worrying about the future and embrace living in the moment. The film gets a little bogged down in the middle, but it’s more than worth it for its suggestion that religion needs a serious reboot, and that perhaps the goddesses that have been suppressed by the dominant patriarchal Abrahamic faiths need to be given free reign again. The boys had their chance, and they screwed it all up. It’s about time the girls had a go.


green light 3.5 stars

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The Brand New Testament (Le tout nouveau testament) (2016) | directed by Jaco Van Dormael
US/Can release: Dec 09 2016
UK/Ire release: Apr 15 2016

MPAA: not rated
BBFC: rated 15 (strong language, sex, sex references, nudity)

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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  • LaSargenta

    Doesn’t look like it’s got a release date for the US. I’ll have to keep my eyes open.

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