Corpus Christ (2019) was recommended by National Public Radio during film week, so I give it a watch. It’s a Polish movie about a convict who pretends to be a priest in a local parish while he is on parole.
Interesting premise coupled with intense acting made this a stunning film. But the ending has left me wondering: why did Marta go in a car leaving her house? What does the widow being accepted into the chapel mean? What does escaping the prison after beating Bonus mean for Daniel?
Before I get into these questions about the ending, I’ll give a brief summary. Basically, Daniel is on parole, doomed to work a sawmill forever. He meets Marta at a church where he says he is a priest and shows a collar he got from his juvenile detention priest. She believes him and introduces him to the priest and her mom, who helps out with church duties.
Soon, he has taken over priestly duties since the current priest is getting health treatments. He helps the town and the people appreciate him for the most part. He also sleeps with Marta. Seven people in the town were tragically killed in a car accident, but most of the people blame it on the driver, so they refuse to bury him and put his photo on the vigil board. They send hate letters and vandalize the house of the widow. Daniel guised as Father Thomas pushes to give a burial.
Now on to the ending.
I think Marta could’ve been leaving to search for Daniel, or she could be running away. Not sure what other options there are. She had a falling out with her mother, so she stayed with Daniel. I’m not sure why this is left as vague, it’s not really profound whichever she chooses.
The widow being accepted my Marta’s mom shows that Daniel’s actions actually did resolve the town’s tensions. The mom represents hatred toward the widow, who was scapegoated. And since the mom said “God bless you” at the funeral (a turn of heart that she went), it shows she has finally given Daniel legitimacy even at the point that Daniel is “coming clean”. All along, she seems to be the one most unsure about him — subtle of course (for example, she sees him walk out the convenience store and seems semi-judgmental).
Lastly, perhaps escaping the prison means that Daniel has overcome his greatest fear of being stuck there, doomed to being beat up by Bonus. I’m not sure what else it could mean.
I enjoyed the movie. It felt raw, and the actors and director did a great job pacing and dramatizing through subtlety. Oscar 2020 here we come Corpus Christi!