Niewinne (Agnus Dei/Les innocentes/The Innocents), a film directed by Anne Fontaine and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, was released theatrically in Austria on June 16, 2017.
On June 16, 2017 Niewinne (Agnus Dei/Les innocentes/The Innocents) by Anne Fontaine was released theatrically in Austria. Distribution is handled by Thimfilm GMBH.
Anne Fontaine's latest feature, co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, has been released in Greece, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, the US, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary and France. The French release alone brought over 720,000 admissions.
On March 11, 2016 the film was released theatrically in Poland. Distribution is handled by Kino Świat.
The film is popular with international distributors; to date, it has sold to Canada, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Colombia, and the United Kingdom.
Niewinne (Agnus Dei / Les innocentes/ The Innocents) is set in Poland in winter 1945. Mathilde Beaulieu (Lou de Lâage) is a young intern at the French Red Cross, working to find, cure, and repatriate French survivors of Nazi labour camps. One day a Polish nun arrives at the hospital. In broken French, she begs Mathilde to accompany her to the convent.
Niewinne (Agnus Dei / Les innocentes/ The Innocents). Photo by Anna Włoch, Aeroplan Film
The film stars Lou de Lâage (Respire, Jappeloup - nominated for a Cesar award as Most Promising Actress), Vincent Macaigne (Eden) and Polish actresses Agata Kulesza (Ida), Agata Buzek (Rewers/The Reverse) and Joanna Kulig (Sponsoring/Elles, Ida).
The film was produced by Eric and Nicolas Altmayer of Mandarin Cinema (Bertrand Bonello's Saint Laurent) amd by Philippe Carcassonne, and co-produced by Eliza Oczkowska and Klaudia Śmieja of Aeroplan Film (Poland), Mars Films, Canal+ Frane, nc+ Polska, France 2 Cinema and Scope Picture (Belgium), and supported by Film Commission Poland. Lensed by Caroline Champetier, the film was filmed entirely in Poland. Polish artists were also responsible for the film's visual side, with Joanna Macha as production designer and Katarzyna Lewińska as costume designer. The film was co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.
Niewinne (Agnus Dei/Les innocentes/ The Innocents) has received acclaim in Polish and international film press. "Shot in a deliberately drab, muted palette perfectly suited to the convent's plain-looking environs, Agnus Dei in some way recalls Of Gods and Men (2010), Xavier Beauvois' magisterial tragedy about Trappist monks coming under siege from Muslim fundamentalists in Algeria," writes Justin Chang for Variety magazine.
"Fontaine sketches a subtle portrait of the nuns. Some of them are vivacious young women who consider the convent a temporary shelter (Joanna Kulig's bold performane as Irena). […] In Agnus Dei, what's at stake is not only the past. It is also a film about the traumatic experiences that poison people with distrust. It's a film about the dangerous fear of corporeality, rooted much deeper than orthodox Catholic dogmatism. It is also a film about fanaticism. In the world of Agata Kulesza's complex character of Mother Superior, the solitary struggle between compassion and haughtiness ensues; a struggle between striving for the 'lesser evil' and crime," writes Gazeta Wyborcza's Paweł T. Felis.