Compelling story about a
catholic priest who takes a political
stand for the workers during the Industrial Revolution. Set in Flanders, Father
Daens' (Jan Decleir) life is changed by an event that occurs as he is walking through the
town early one morning. He observes a little girl who has frozen to death on the
street overnight. Deeply affected, he is moved to take action on behalf of the
illiterate workers. He must struggle against the wealthy capitalists as well as the
official stance that his church has taken in support of them. Father Daens becomes a
champion of the workers, eventually elected to a seat in Parliament.
The film is beautifully crafted with great attention given to
period details. Nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film (1993), Father
Daens won the Joseph Plateau Award for Best Belgian Film, Best Belgian Actor (Jan
Decleir), Best Belgian Actress (Antje de Boeck) and Best Belgian Director (Stijn Coninx)
(1993). The Venice Film Festival awarded a Special Mention (OCIC Award) to
Father Daens (1992).
Runtime: 134 minutes.
"Clearly one of the best films of recent
decades, and a stellar portrait of Father Daen's difficult inner and outer
struggle to bring humane justice to his people, with their enduring belief in
him, and despite the overt and covert resistance of the oligarchy, the
government and, most sadly, of the Catholic Church. A must-see! Well acted,
directed and filmed."
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