Jaco Van Dormael’s silly whimsy, “The Brand New Testament” (Le tout nouveau testament), messes with heresy but winds up with a fistful of giddy laughs. God is not dead: he’s a mean sonofabitch obsessed with playing petty pranks on humanity who live in a Brussels high-rise, mean to his wife, estranged from his only begotten son and father to a pissed-off ten-year-old daughter who takes the world’s matters into her own hands one day. After texting the date of death to everyone on the planet, she runs away (via a washing machine) with a grab-bag of lunatic “disciples.” Nutty gags—a couple Terry Gilliam-worthy—and crisp comic timing allow the boisterous tone to rise above the machinations of a busy plot. With Benoît Poelvoorde (“Man Bites Dog”) as “Dieu,” Yolande Moreau and Catherine Deneuve. 112m. (Ray Pride)
“The Brand New Testament” opens Friday, December 16 at the Music Box.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published soon. Previews of the project are on Twitter and on Instagram as Ghost Signs Chicago. More photography on Instagram.