In Belgian director Jaco Van Dormael’s universe, God (Benoit Poelvoorde) is a mean-spirited bastard lounging around his Brussels apartment in dressing gown and trackies, watching sport on TV and wreaking havoc on the world from his DOS-run PC. Goddess (the marvellous Yolande Moreau), his long suffering wife, sticks to her embroidery and bides her time. But ten-year-old daughter Éa (played by a fantastic young actress, Pili Groyne) has taken one too many strappings from the old man and resolves – with the help of her better-known older brother – to liberate the world from the malign hand of Dad.
Not to give away too much about her mission, she sets about recruiting six disciples whose testimony about their own miracle-free lives will constitute the Brand New Testament. Surreal silliness ensues, with some florid CGI assistance, and memorable encounters with, amongst others, a small boy who wants to be a girl and Catherine Deneuve as a wealthy shopaholic who bonds with a gorilla. Literal adherents of the previous two Testaments need not apply, but there’s a daffy innocence – a touch of Amélie – about this brand new one. — Bill Gosden, NZIFF