Inside Out LGBT Film Festival 2013: In the Name Of (2013)
The 2013 edition of the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival kicks off on Thursday, May 23 with the Polish film In the Name Of from director Malgoska Szumowska. While the film has been travelling the European festival circuit, Thursday’s 8:00 pm screening marks the Canadian premiere of the film. Advance buzz has been so positive, the festival has added a second screening on Sunday, June 2 at 5:00 pm.
By this point, gay priests seem kind of hackneyed in Western cinema, but In the Name Of offers a rare, sensitive glimpse at one priest’s sexual angst when confronted with the disparity between the rigors of his faith and his carnal desires. While this movie is unlikely to raise much controversial from cinephile audiences – it does make a very clear distinction between homosexuality and pedophilia – arthouse cinema goers will appreciate the intense psychological character study of one man’s struggle with faith, guilt, and desire.
The story focuses on Father Adam (Andrzej Chyra), a stern by compassionate priest, posted in small Polish backwater parish. Later in the film we learn his transfer was a bit suspicious, but for the first half we see only his good works in the hardscrabble outpost – namely, opening a center for wayward boys rejected ejected from reformatory. His bishop praises his results as “remarkable” and indeed, audiences will marvel as well.
Father Adam (played by Szumowska regular Andrzej Chyra) is the stern-faced pastor of a small parish in the Polish boondocks. Since being transferred there, he has opened a center for difficult boys coming from a reformatory, and his success in taming their foul language and manners has been “remarkable” even in the eyes of his bishop.
Father Adam faces many temptations in the course of his duties, the first being from the appropriately named Eve (Maja Ostaszewska) the bored and dissatisfied wife of his assistant Michal. Her attempted seduction is easily rejected by Father Adam not, as it’s revealed, as obligation to his vows but rather because the Father is attracted to his teenage charges. One young man in particular, the silent One in particular strikes a chord, the strange, silent Lukasz (Mateusz Kosciukiewicz), draws the attention of father Adam.
In the Name Of is not light fare, nor is it a flawless movie. Aside from one scene when a drunk Father Adam waltzes with a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI, there’s little in the way of comic relief. But the movie is a fair and nuanced portrayal of one priest’s struggle to reconcile is truly held faith with the shame it means to provoke about his own identity. The performances in this film, particularly from Chyra, and the sneering, menacing Blondie (Tomasz Schuchardt), made all the more dangerous for being exactly what he is, are alone worth the price of admission.
For more information about the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival, to find showtimes, and to purchase tickets, visit http://www.insideout.ca/.
A Gallery of Images from In the Name Of