IN THE NAME OF (Malgoska Szumowska). 102 minutes. Subtitled. Tonight (Thursday, May 23), 8 pm; June 2, 5 pm. TIFF 1.
This year's fest gets off to a strong start with the powerful Polish drama In The Name Of, one of the best openers in recent years.
Daniel Craig look-alike Andrzej Chyra plays Father Adam, a grizzled, T-shirt-wearing Catholic priest at a tiny country parish who also oversees a centre for delinquent teenage boys.
Initially, Adam seems in control - disciplining the boys at soccer or their construction work, deflecting the come-ons of the bored wife of a church colleague and blowing off steam during daily jogs. He also finds kinship with a quiet, sensitive local, Lukasz (Mateusz Kosciukiewicz).
But soon, prompted by the arrival of a streetwise youth, cracks appear in his composure and he begins drinking and questioning his sexuality and faith.
Director Malgoska Szumowska pours on the homoeroticism early on and creates some scenes that suggest the spiritual mystery of a Bresson. A few plot points go MIA, but this is an assured, open-hearted look at religion, desire and self-enlightenment.