Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain takes us into the spiritual dead zone of priests tucked away in a coastal village as a form of penance and protection in The Club. Protection from those who might harm them, as well as those they might harm. This grimly dramatic film has them interrogated by a Vatican representative, Father Garcia (Marcel Alonso) and looked after, you might say, by Mother Monica (Antonia Zeegers). Alonso and Zeegers both give magnetic performances as two clerical figures sternly at odds with one another. The crimes/sins committed by the men are of child molestation and some baby trafficking.
The wayward priests have resigned themselves to their pariah status and take an interest in a prize greyhound they train. You palpably feel the resignation in the vivid performances. They explore the engrained self-deception and self-loathing of such men. Larrain takes us into their limbo and we are made to ponder the dead end of their existence which of course, is a direct result of their wrongdoing. How does one forgive an adult who has crossed this line? What is the appropriate, and perhaps more importantly, what might actually be the most helpful response to such a dreadful misdeed, for everyone involved? The Club doesn’t give us any answers but it certainly makes us aware of that problem. It’s a must-see film for anyone who tracks the problem of child abuse within religious institutions of any faith.
Opens Feb. 29
Lagoon Cinema, 1320 Lagoon Ave., Minneapolis