Hadewijch (12A)

Starring: Julie Sokolowski, Yassine Salime, Karl Sarafidis
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The Independent Culture

Whatever else he is – avant-gardiste, provocateur, largely unknown – Bruno Dumont is a wonderful observer of the human face.

He focuses on it in the same way as Robert Bresson did, staring intently at eyes and changing expressions as if he might uncover a secret of the soul.

His protagonist here, a 20-year-old French girl desperate for a sign from God, is played with mesmerising unworldliness by Julie Sokolowski.

I'm not even sure what she does is acting, but you can't tear your eyes from her.

The plot is a squib of Christian-Islam collision that foments a terrorist outrage: it's utterly unbelievable. But Dumont's exaltation of the face and all it contains of love and doubt has a near-transcendent power.