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Van Dormael and Poelvoorde conquer the box office with The Brand New Testament

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- God exists, he lives in Brussels, and he’s neither kind nor content: the starting point for the new poetic slapstick comedy by Jaco Van Dormael

Van Dormael and Poelvoorde conquer the box office with The Brand New Testament
The Brand New Testament by Jaco Van Dormael

Very few releases this autumn in Belgian cinemas, but there is one select Belgian film: The Brand New Testament [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Jaco van Dormael
film profile
]
, the new movie by Jaco Van Dormael (Toto the Heroe, The Eighth Day, Mr Nobody [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Jaco Van Dormael
interview: Jaco Van Dormael
film profile
]
). Benoît Poelvoorde, whose sinister figure adorns billboards, plays God, but it’s not a very reassuring God; he’s frankly quite careless, and we soon learn that compassion is not his strong point. He shares a rather shabby and gloomy apartment with his wife, forever in her bathrobe, and his young daughter. His son left home for reasons unknown. God, who spends a good deal of his spare time playing with Sod’s law, starts to take out his rage on his wife and daughter whenever he feels like it. Tired of it all, his daughter Ea decides to get even. She hacks into her father’s celestial IT database and he’s forced to come down to earth and get in line with ordinary people. 

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With its unbeatable pitch ("God exists, he’s living in Brussels"), the film is led by a promising comic cast (Poelvoorde, but also François Damiens and Yolande Moreau, and of course, Catherine Deneuve, who enjoys iconic status). The sharp writing by Thomas Gunzig, who collaborated in the screenplay, appears every so often to restore the pH of Van Dormael’s poetic-romantic world with some well-timed touches of acidity. The Brand New Testament offers a series of anecdotes based on a simple idea, "What would you do if you knew the date of your death?", follows Ea in her quest to rally up a handful of new apostles to her cause, and ends on a high note with a reedeming coup d’état and that’s all we’re saying.

The film enjoys a massive release in 33 theatres, including 3 in Flanders, led by Belga Films. What’s more, it’s being released at the same time in France (read the news), and is the subject of a huge media campaign, with Benoît Poelvoorde doing the rounds on TV and radio. This should contribute to an increase in local box-office results.

(Translated from French)

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