Le Tout Nouveau Testament (The Brand New Testament)
So, does God exist? Jaco Van Dormael’s Le Tout Nouveau Testament (The Brand New Testament) puts a rather big question to bed once and for all. The answer is yes. God exists and he lives in Brussels with his wife and daughter, Ea (Píli Groyne). As it turns out, though, our Almighty Father is a bit of a bastard.
The ten-year-old Ea decides she’s had enough of her father’s tyranny and temper tantrums, setting out to put an end to his cruel and capricious reign over mankind. She writes a new and improved testament of her own, but not before throwing a rather large proverbial spanner in the works for her father: Ea sends out text messages to everyone on the planet with the exact date and time of their deaths.
Following her brother’s example, Ea recruits a number of disciples, and performs a few small miracles that succeed in transforming the lives of her new friends. Within a cast that includes the likes of Catherine Deneuve, François Damiens, and Benoît Poelvoorde as God, Groyne demonstrates her talent and perfect ease opposite her co-stars.
The marvellous integration of animation into a live-action film inspires the qualities of a fairytale, overflowing with originality and wit. As hilarious as it is imaginative, the film is itself a testament to the absurdity of human beings and their relationship with religion. Even without any particular religious education, the jokes and references made about Christianity are easy to follow and fully appreciate.
The playful blend of filming techniques, different aesthetics and fantastic elements comes together to illustrate Van Dormael’s unique artistry and, in keeping with the twist on the subject of religion, celebrates humans’ boundless capacity for imagination.
It’s rare that a film will manage to keep a smile on your face from beginning to end. Such a divinely entertaining story is sure to become a cult classic.
Le Tout Nouveau Testament (The Brand New Testament) does not yet have a UK release date.