Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Belgium/The Netherlands/Australia, 1999. Era Films, Jos Stelling Filmprodukties BV, Kinepolis Film Productions. Screenplay by John Briley, based on the book Damiaan, de definitieve biografie by Hilde Eynikel. Cinematography by Nino Gaetano Martinetti. Produced by Grietje Lammertyn, Tarsicius Vanhuysse. Music by Paul Grabowsky. Production Design by Jan Petitjean. Costume Design by Bernadette Corstens. Film Editing by Kristina Hamilton-Grobler, John Scott, Ludo Troch.
Based on a true story, this engrossing film tells of an enigmatic young Belgian priest named Father Damien (David Wenham) who moved to the leper colony in Molokai (one of Hawaii’s islands) to take care of the neglected people there. Giving these people love and spiritual guidance when no one could even be bothered to spare any funding for them, Father Damien’s efforts arouse the notice of Hawaii’s royals and eventually the world before he succumbs to the disease himself. Paul Cox has made a career of filming totally original stories, and this awe-inspring epic is no different. Hawaii has never looked more haunting or beautiful.
Toronto International Film Festival: 1999