Screened as part of NZIFF 2010

Lourdes 2009

Directed by Jessica Hausner

Lourdes takes viewers deep inside the famous religious shrine while providing a subtle drama about hope, faith and the random nature of miracles. “As magically, richly ambivalent as life itself.” — Financial Times

Austria / France / Germany In French with English subtitles
99 minutes

Director, Screenplay


Martin Gschlacht
Philippe Bober
Susanne Marian


Martin Gschlacht


Karina Ressler

Production designer

Katharina Wöppermann

Costume designer

Tanja Hausner


Sylvie Testud (Christine)
Bruno Todeschini (Kuno)
Elina Löwensohn (Cécile)
Gerhard Liebmann (Pater Nigl)
Linde Prelog (Frau Huber)
Hubsi Kramer (Herr Olivetti)


Venice, Toronto 2009; Sundance, Rotterdam, San Francisco 2010


Critics' Prize, Venice Film Festival 2009


Lourdes takes us deep inside one of the world’s most popular religious shrines. Taking its pace and shape from the discreetly commodified rituals that enable thousands of pilgrims to visit every day, the film leaves one touched with a lingering impression of having travelled there oneself. At once coolly formal and imbued with mystery, it’s a curious and haunting film. We focus on Christine (Sylvie Testud), a pretty, likeable woman confined to a wheelchair by multiple sclerosis. She’s with an organised tour group, led by the severe Cécile, and tended by volunteers. For Christine a visit to Lourdes is, above all, a chance to get out and about, but something in this strangely becalmed place and its orderly mass of the sad and hopeful brings about a change in her. — BG

“Cinematographer Martin Gschlacht lets Lourdes, with all its size and opulence, speak for itself. Shots in which hundreds of wheelchairs line up in rows, or thousands of pilgrims hold candles aloft in a nighttime courtyard, are simply breathtaking… The shrine is big business, a way to institutionalize miracles, and Hausner captures its crass, vulgar aspects with a pitiless eye. But it also is a place of inexplicable occurrences, and the film finds a way to show the hunger for faith with tolerance and doubt… Hausner’s film is about as far away from mainstream escapism as you could imagine. It also is satisfying in ways that fiction rarely achieves.” — Daniel Eagan, Hollywood Reporter

“This film is both good and powerful. It saves the God debate, still intact, for another round. It is as magically, richly ambivalent as life itself.” — Nigel Andrews, Financial Times