• Bible Films Blog

    Looking at film interpretations of the stories in the Bible - past, present and future, as well as preparation for a future work on Straub/Huillet's Moses und Aron and a few bits and pieces on biblical studies.

    Matt Page


    Tuesday, June 14, 2022

    Magdala (2022) Plays at Cannes ACID

    I've paid Damien Manivel’s Magdala only a fraction of the attention that I should have and now I find that it has already played at the ACID Festival (Association for the Distribution of Independent Cinema) that runs alongside the main Cannes Film Festival, so it really is about time I posted something about it.

    Magdala is a dialogue-free film, apparently similar in style to Albert Serra's Birdsong (2008), that features an elderly Mary Magdalene, reflecting on her time with the long-departed Jesus. It's French made, and, at only 78 minutes, it's one of the shorter biblical features I've come across in a while.

    As ever, my friend Peter Chattaway has been much more on the ball with the news. After an initial post in January 2021, he followed up in April with the news the film would be playing at ACID, and now he's got excerpts from some reviews of the film and a few images and video clips.    

    In an interview for Cineuropa Manivel describes his film as "very minimalist in some sense, but it also places sensations centre stage" and was born out of his desire to work with the film's star, Elsa Wolliaston, again, following their collaboration on two short films La Dame au chien and Isadora’s Children.  

    The reviews seem largely positive so far, though, that is, in part, because all the reviewers seem to appreciate Manivel's austere approach. As a fan of that kind of thing, I'm looking forward to it too. Hopefully it won't be too long before I'm able to report back. Mubi streamed Manivel's last film Isadora's Children (2020) – for which he won Best Director at the Locarno Film Festival – so hopefully they will be showing Magdala at some point as well.

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