In theatres from director Xavier Giannoli and Music Box Films is a story that leaves us questioning faith and secrets with THE APPARITION.
Jacques Mayano (Vincent Lindon) is a journalist who is asked by the Vatican to be a part of a canonical investigation in France. Anna (Galatea Bellugi) is a young girl living in small village that says she has seen the apparition of the Virgin Mary. Now Jacques and three others must learn as much as they can about the young Anna.
Not moved by Anna as much as his colleagues, Jacques begins to ask questions about where Anna came from, the schools she went to and who her friends were. He speaks to the men who heard her cries in a large pasture believing that is when she saw the apparition.
Anna reaches out to Jacques feeling free to speak with him despite the objection of local priest Father Borrodine (Patrick d’Assumcao) who feels like he needs to be the lead for Anna in all things. At the same time Anton Meyer (Anatole Taubman) is rolling out the candles and likeness of Anna to bring in the followers – and their money.
The more questions Jacques asks, the more questions there are following him from place to place. Putting the pieces together is more paramount than ever as Anna promises that all the answers will come soon and Jacques feels that prediction is ominous.
Faith can sometimes hold a secret.
Lindon as Jacques is a bulldog of a journalist and isn’t about to let the Vatican sway him in how he handles his part of the investigation. Even when he meets Anna and a part of him wants to believe in her, Jacques knows there is so much more to be known. I truly enjoyed Lindon’s portrayal and was right there with him all the way before I realized it. Having the same questions I did, Lindon had a side kick going step by step wanting to believe Anna but not able to stop the nagging feeling of a secret.
Bellugi as Anna is absolutely stunning with a face I would believe (if it weren’t for that dang nagging feeling). She is so genuine in her belief and has a sense of innocence about her and Bellugi gives the added push of being so lovely to watch. As the film goes on she doesn’t miss a beat and a protective nature kicks in for me. That’s the sign of a character portrayal so well done.
D’Assumcao as Father Borrodine is basking in the glow of what is happening to Anna publically and in the media. He bars her from talking to certain people and only agrees to Jacques questions because he comes with a clear mission from the Vatican. He isn’t happy about any of it and makes it clear. That leaves his character wide open for suspicion.
Taubman as Meyer is just the creepiest character in the film. He claims to care for Anna yet finds every way possible to exploit her. Once again my protective nature kicked in and every time Taubman was on screen as Meyer I found myself growling. That’s how you know a role is perfectly cast.
Other cast include Elina Lowensohn as Doctor de Villeneuve, Claude Leveque as Father Gallois, Gerard Dessalles as Stephane Mornay, Bruno Georis as Father Ezeradot, Candice Bouchet as Valerie and Alicia Hava as Meriem.
Am I telling you every little detail about THE APPARITION? Absolutely not. This is the genre of film that I truly am thrilled about letting the viewer discover. There are so many twists and secrets to be discovered that just when I think I have it worked out – it’s not.
Watching Jacques wrestle with his journalistic instincts and that of wanting to believe Anna is stellar and watching Anna wrestle with her place at the convent and the people around her is both fascinating and heart wrenching at the same time. These two characters are meant to share this journey and director Giannoli makes us all feel a little blessed to walk the road with them.
I truly enjoyed this film and loved every aspect of the storytelling. That is what makes THE APPARITION one of my best films for 2018 and I urge you to see and decide for yourself. A beautiful film with kudos all around!
In the end – doubt and faith are about to collide!