A common space for harmonic peacemakers
Grâce à Dieu (English Festival Title: By the Grace of God, German: Gelobt sei Gott) is a French feature film by François Ozon. The drama thematizes child abuse in the Catholic Church.
Alexandre lives with his wife and children in Lyon. One day he discovers by chance that the priest who abused him when he was a boy scout is still working with young people. Long repressed memories awaken. Distraught, Alexandre finally finds the courage to take action against the man. His search for further victims of the clergyman, who is highly respected in his office, leads Alexandre to François and Emmanuel. Each of these three men is struggling with himself in a different way. And each of them will have to do battle with the shadows of their past in order to cope with the far-reaching consequences of this process. The creation of the self-help organisation ‘La Parole Libérée’ (The Liberated Word) is just the first step.
Based on the real case of Father Bernard Preynat who in 2016 was charged with sexually assaulting around 70 boys in Lyon, François Ozon portrays the victims as adult men and reveals the lifelong wounds they have sustained. At the same time, the film criticises the church’s silence on paedophilia and asks about its complicity. As of January 2019, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin is standing trial for ‘non-denunciation of sexual aggression’.