NOMINEE - 2024 CÉSAR AWARDS - Best Actor (Lavernhe)
OFFICIAL SELECTION – 2023 CANNES FILM FESTIVAL (OUT OF COMPETITION)
Featuring a revelatory performance from Benjamin Lavernhe (Delicious, C’est la vie!), writer/director Frédéric Tellier’s sweeping and deeply-affecting new historical epic charts the extraordinary life of the titular priest and humanitarian (1912-2007) who, throughout a tumultuous span of modern history, advocated for those most in need whilst frequently placing himself in peril and at risk of ostracisation from the church.
Born in Lyon, the fifth of eight Catholic children, Henri Grouès (Lavernhe) plans to join the monastery, only for WWII to intervene. Learning of the persecution of Jews and patriots, he joins the French Resistance to help those fleeing oppression by the Gestapo, himself forced to use several false identities to avoid capture. As “Abbé Pierre”, by which he will then be known, Henri is exposed to the devastation of war, but also bears witness to the compassion and strength of brotherhood and the liberation of Paris; he emerges from the maelstrom a changed man.
Accompanied by his Resistance ally and confidante Lucie Coutaz (an excellent Emmanuelle Bercot), Abbé Pierre is destined to live many lives and face multiple battles: as a revolutionary, a state representative, the founder of the Emmaus network of housing shelters and a national icon, but always answerable to history and his fellow man.
A major word-of-mouth sensation and box office success in France in late 2023, Tellier’s grand, big-budget production features a stirring soundtrack by The National’s Bryce Dessner, but is truly elevated by the remarkable Lavernhe, who is widely tipped for César recognition for his stellar performance. Spanning 70 years of recent history, ABBÉ PIERRE is an uplifting and memorable drama that – in capturing the feelings, doubts and contradictions of an inspirational man - speaks eloquently to the concerns of our current era.