Austro-Franco-Germanic cinema. I'm pretty sure I just made that up. Don't ever use it; sounds stupid out loud. But those are the three countries (Austria, France, Germany) that have a hand in Lourdes.
I'll be honest: I'm still not completely sure what to make of this film. However, Sylvie Testud deserves an Oscar (or at least a pat on the hyper-cute shoulder) for her embodiment of the character Christine. Christine is a paralytic who is joining a group of pilgrims on their trip to Lourdes. The fact that Christine is paralyzed from the neck down, makes Testud's emotion-eliciting performance all the more jaw-dropping - she did it all from the neck up. She ventures out on pilgrimages such as this not as an act of faith, but because "it's better than being inside."
But Christine rarely if ever comes across as depressed, self-loathing or incensed about her condition. One might even wonder if she's at all concerned about her condition. She is happy. She has a love of life and an almost childlike wonder of the world. She is all genuine smiles and simple words. Priceless. (It's sad to think that Christine is just a character in a film; I'd love to meet her.)
So, when she is the recipient of a miracle, it befuddles the devout masses. But she is as even-keeled happy as she was paralyzed. It's a subtle change, if any, that separates, the Christine in the wheelchair from the one standing next to it. The only difference is that now, there is a deep sense of joy added to her happiness. I have no idea how hard it is for an actor to elicit those two things as separate entities, but Testud does it.
Otherwise, the questions about faith that film raises are miniscule in comparison to the painting that is the character of Christine. This is good, because their are dealt with hastily and haphazardly at best. But maybe that's the point....?
This film: A-