BUFS Preview: Calvary

This week, BUFS is pleased to present Calvary.


In a darkened confessional in a small town on the Irish coast, Father James hears from an anonymous confessor, a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of another priest. As retribution, the man will murder an innocent—Father James—in one week’s time.  Father James is keenly aware of the sins of his brothers. It’s no surprise, then, that his primary concern regards the confessor’s suffering, rather than his own impending doom. He won’t break the seal of the confession by reporting the threat to the police, which leaves him a week in which to get his affairs in order. The timing becomes especially poignant when his suicidal daughter—for Father James is a widower, and a recovering alcoholic—arrives for a visit.

As the hours tick by, a parade of odd parishioners seek out support for matters of adultery, arrogance, and grief. All the while, we’re left to wonder which one will meet Father James on the beach? And what will the two men do when their moment of reckoning arrives?

Writer-director John Michael McDonagh, known for 2011’s The Guard, crafts a powerful exploration of faith, community, and a legacy of abuse—but, in typical Irish fashion, he doesn’t spare the humour. The supporting cast, including Chris O’Dowd, Aidan Gillen, and Dylan Moran, ensure a balance between darkness and comedy, while Brendan Gleeson gives a remarkable performance as the cross-bearing Father James.  Calvary screens Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at the Landmark Cinemas, Pen Centre. Visit brocku.ca/bufs for details.

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