Music Box Films is proud to annouce the release of François Ozon’s BY THE GRACE OF GOD, based on the gripping true story of three adult men who band together to expose the code of silence in the Catholic Church that continued to empower a priest who abused them as boys. BY THE GRACE OF GOD is scheduled to open in New York on Friday, October 18 at Film Forum, and in Los Angeles on October 25 at the Nuart followed by a national roll out.
Alexandre (Melvil Poupaud, Laurence Anyways), lives in Lyon, a bastion of the French Catholic bourgeoisie, with his wife and five children. A fervent churchgoer, he learns that Father Preynat (Bernard Verley), the priest who abused him when he was a Boy Scout, is still working with children. He decides to take action, soon to be joined by two other victims of the priest, François (Denis Ménochet, Custody and Inglorious Basterds) and Emmanuel (Swann Arlaud, Bloody Milk). The three go to great lengths to denounce the perpetrator and the institution that has protected him, a risky endeavor that endangers relationships with their loved ones, and compromise their own fragile selves.
The film is based on Ozon’s extensive research and interviews with Father Preynat’s real life victims, who fully supported the director’s project. The explosive investigation and subsequent trial of Cardinal Barbarin became a French media sensation, covered widely around the world.
Father Preynat was indicted in January 2016 and placed under judicial supervision for sexual assault. On July 4, 2019 he was defrocked by a church tribunal, and faces trial in a French court next year. In March of 2019, Cardinal Barbarin was found guilty by a French court of covering up decades-old sexual abuse by Father Preynat and received a six-month suspended sentence which he is appealing.
The drama marks a departure for François Ozon, one of French cinema’s most prolific writer-directors whose career has spanned the last 20 years. His credits include See The Sea, Under the Sand, Hideaway, In The House, Swimming Pool, The New Girlfriend and Frantz. He recently finished filming his twentieth feature film, Summer ’84. BY THE GRACE OF GOD won the Silver Bear at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival.
"A thoughtful, fast-paced, and immaculately acted procedural that unfolds with the urgency of a newspaper deadline, “By the Grace of God” zips through the facts of this horrid case, while also shaping them into a lens through which to examine the uneasy relationships between mercy and justice — between faith and the flawed institution that exists to preserve it.” Indiewire, David Ehrlich
“There's of-the-moment cinema and then there's on-the-moment cinema, ripped so freshly from the headlines that the filmmaking still bears a few ink smudges.” Variety, Guy Lodge