(NOTE: This interview was originally published here.)
In his newest film, By the Grace of God, French director François Ozon takes an axe to the reputation that he’s cultivated as a director of risqué films about female sexuality. A meticulous recounting of a scandal that was front-page news in France, the film tells the story of three men – Alexandre, François, and Emmanuel – who were all molested as kids by a Catholic priest named Bernard Preynat.
Admittedly, By the Grace of God lacks the unabashedly irreverent tone that has in some ways become Ozon’s hallmark. But the film more than makes up for that with the intensity of its narrative and the quiet, focused outrage that it brings to its denunciation of the Catholic Church. Whether you end up liking it or not, Ozon’s latest film is one that deserves to be seen and discussed.