Corpus Christi, a controversial Polish production about a young man pretending to be a priest in a small village in southern Poland, has been nominated for an Academy Award. 

The film is nominated in the category of best international feature, where it will compete against Les Misérables (France), Pain and Glory (Spain), Parasite (South Korea) and Honeyland (North Macedonia). The winner will be announced during the Academy Awards ceremony on 9 February.

Corpus Christi, known in Polish as Boże Ciało and directed by Jan Komasa with an original screenplay by Mateusz Pacewicz, tells a story based on true events. After a conditional release from a juvenile prison, 20-year old Daniel decides to become a priest.

Because of his criminal record, he cannot enter an official priestly order, and so he travels to a small village in southern Poland, where – upon the absence of the local priest – he takes his place. 

Until now, only one Polish production has won an Oscar for the best foreign film. Paweł Pawlikowski’s Ida, a film about a trainee nun discovering her Jewish roots and her family’s history in 1962 Poland, won the award in 2015.

Other Polish nominees have included Andrzej Wajda’s Katyń, Man of Iron, The Maids of Wilko and Land of Promise, Agnieszka Holland’s Angry Harvest, and Pawlikowski’s most recent film, Cold War. Polish director Roman Polański has also won the best director Oscar for The Pianist.

Komasa’s Corpus Christi has stirred a heated debate on the role of the Catholic church and on the inner divisions of Polish society. It has been seen by over a million viewers in Poland.

Main image credit: Kino Świat/press kit

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