THE CONFESSION / La Confession


North American Premiere • Drama • France, 2016

DCP • 2:35 • Dolby 5.1 • Color • 116 min

Directed by: Nicolas Boukhrief

Written by: Nicolas Boukhrief

Based on the novel by: Béatrix Beck

Cinematography: Manuel Dacosse

Film Editing: Lydia Decobert

Original Score: Nicolas Errera

Produced by: Clément Miserez (Radar Films), Nicolas Jourdier (Nebo Production), PSB Films, Scope Pictures

Cast: Romain Duris (Priest Léon Morin), Marine Vacth (Barny), Anne Le Ny (Christine Sangredin), Solène Rigot (Marion Lamiral), Amandine Dewasmes (Daniele Fouchet), Lucie Debay (Sabine) , Charlie Lefebvre (France) 

International Sales: SND Groupe M6


Romain Duris and Marine Vacth (Young and Beautiful, COLCOA 2014) face off in this sober period drama with a new take on the Beatrix Beck novel Léon Morin, Pretre. Lying on her deathbed, Barny wishes to confess a pivotal love story she has kept secret for decades. It was during WWII, when she was living in a French village under German occupation. Into this claustrophobic hothouse, a priest arrives to replace a predecessor. Léon Morin is a charming young man, qualities that, with most of the village men away at war, soon has local hearts aflutter. With a husband in a German prison camp, Barny craves intimacy. But as an atheist and a committed communist, instead she challenges Léon’s faith in God and his apparent resignation under Nazi rule. When Léon invites her to discuss her convictions, she is slowly drawn into his orbit. Their battle of wits becomes a subtle pas de deux between two diametrically opposed positions. Is seduction the ultimate aim, or is seduction merely a means to persuade a worthy opponent?  The Confession is a film about redemption that questions religion, politics, and ultimately certainty itself.


Having established his reputation in the genres of crime and thriller, writer/director Nicolas Boukhrief’s pivot to period drama surprised many. But judging from the film’s warm critical reception since its Paris release this March, the move was a welcome one. What the film shares with his grittier crime dramas such as Cash Truck (COLCOA 2004), or Sphynx (COLCOA 2010), is a carefully calibrated pacing as well as a commitment to the personal human angle within a story’s larger thematic context. Many will recall Boukhrief’s previous film Made in France (COLCOA 2016) about a homegrown jihadi extremist cell. The film’s scheduled release was delayed twice when the dates coincided with the Hebdo and Bataclan attacks.  Boukhrief developed a passion for Beatrix Beck’s Goncourt-winning bestseller when he read it as a young man. He had been pitching the project to producers for nearly 20 years. The book was previously adapted in 1961 by Jean-Pierre Melville, starring Nouvelle Vague heartthrobs Jean-Paul Belmondo and Emmanuelle Riva.