Currently on DVD from writer/director Bartosz Konopka and Film Movement comes a story of faith and the misunderstanding of men in SWORD OF GOD.
Willibrord (Krzysztof Pieczynski) is a holy man sent on a specific mission, to find the man Jan (Karol Bernacki). On the boat with other men, he barely makes it to shore but the other men do not. The young man he is looking for finds Willibrord and nurses him back to health. That is when he tells the young man Jan that the king is on his way and it is not to make friends with him or the indigenous people on the island.
Jan takes him to the people and Willibrord is shocked at what he sees. Their leader is Geowold (Jacet Koman) and the people are covered in clay and chanting. Not speaking their language, Willibrord must move slowly with what he does. The goal is to build a chapel and convert the population in order to keep the King appeased.
But when Willibrord challenges the shaman, that is when Jan begins to question the elder’s ability to lead the people in faith. In an act of defiance, Jan turns away and pulls half of the people toward him with Prahwe (Wiktoria Gorodecka). The other half with their leader Karenga (Jeroen Perceval) follow Willibrord.
But all the pull back and forth means nothing once the King (Jan Bijvoet) arrives and a secret is revealed followed by what Willibrord feared the most.
And it is all done in the name of God.
Pieczynski as Willibrord is a man on a mission but is it really a mission to bring the indigenous people closer to God? For me that was the biggest question about this character. Piecynski gives a performance of a man confused and turned in so many directors and once he has the fallout with Jan, he seems cemented in moving forward against him. This actor gives a stunning performance of a man who on the outside seems put together but is struggling on the inside.
Bernacki as Jan is a young man who has made the island home. The arrival of Willibrord with news from home does not seem to unsettle him. Taking the elder to meet the indigenous people, he is shocked at the result of their meeting. Turning toward his own faith, it is now Willibrord’s turn to be shocked. Bernacki gives his character a crisis of conscience.
Koman as Geowold has a secret of his own that Willibrord is unaware of at the time he first meets the indigenous people. Keeping an eye on him, he knows where all of this is going, and it is the people he is concerned with. Perceval as Karenga believes in Willibrord because of what he saw during the trial by fire with the shaman. He watches everything but refuses to break away from him.
Other cast include Konrad Beta as Ateb, Marcel Borowiec as Mynothe, Izabela Chlewinska as Juda, Halina Chmielarz as Khari, Olivier De Sagazan as Pem, Dominik Bak as Uwe, Marta Cichorska as Triske, Kamil Dobrowolski as Sentan and Karol Dus as Ahum.
Film Movement, founded in 2002, is an award-winning independent and foreign film company that has released more than 250 feature films and shorts. Theatrical releases include American independent films, documentaries, and foreign arthouse titles catalog such directors as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner and Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. Bluray and DVD films bring such directors as Eric Rohmer, Bolle August, King Hu, Sergio Corbucci and Luchino Visconti and many more. To discover what Film Movement is all about and find out more about what they have to offer please visit www.filmmovementplus.com.
SWORD OF GOD is the story of men who spout the word of God and use any means necessary to scare the indigenous people. It is Willibrord versus Jan and the people who pay for their break from each other are the people they claim to want to help. Both men believe they are right but right does not stop what is to come.
This is the story throughout history of religion believing they are saving indigenous people. The United States has history of its own with those claiming to be men of God and the Native Americans of this country. SWORD OF GOD is a film that is a lesson to be learned if we so choose to learn it.
The grey and lack of color in the film is perfection because there is certainly nothing here that is colorful or cheerful. Instead, the darkness of the film is almost a precursor to the darkness in the hearts of those who hold secrets for their own gain.
SWORD OF GOD is an Official Selection at Sitges and Moscow International Film Festival and Winner of Best Cinematography at Cinepocalypse and the Polish Film Festival.
In the end – it is a battle between salvation and damnation!