The Brand New Testament

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The Brand New Testament
The Brand New Testament poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJaco Van Dormael
Produced byJaco Van Dormael
Frank Van Passel
Written byJaco Van Dormael
Thomas Gunzig
StarringBenoît Poelvoorde
Catherine Deneuve
François Damiens
Yolande Moreau
Pili Groyne
Music byAn Pierlé
CinematographyChristophe Beaucarne
Edited byHervé de Luze
Terra Incognita Films
Distributed byLe Pacte
Release date
  • 17 May 2015 (2015-05-17) (Cannes)
  • 1 September 2015 (2015-09-01) (Belgium)
Running time
113 minutes
Budget$8.7 million[1]
Box office$15.7 million[2]

The Brand New Testament (French: Le Tout Nouveau Testament) is a 2015 fantasy dark comedy film written, produced, and directed by Jaco Van Dormael. It is a co-production among Belgium, France, and Luxembourg. The film was screened at the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.[3] It was selected as the Belgian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards,[4] making the December shortlist of nine films, but was not nominated.[5][6] The Brand New Testament received ten nominations at the 6th Magritte Awards, winning four awards, including Best Film and Best Director for Van Dormael.[7] The film has become a cult movie. [8]


God lives in an apartment in Brussels which he shares with his meek wife and his 10-year-old daughter Ea, to whom he is emotionally and physically abusive. God is a grumpy sadist who created humankind specifically to have something to torment. He manipulates reality via a personal computer which he forbids his family from accessing. One day, Ea sneaks into his office and discovers how He has been mistreating humans. This enrages God who then whips Ea with his belt. Ea decides to rebel against her father. She steals the key to His office and accesses the scheduled dates of death of every human in the world and releases the information to them via their portable telephones. Everyone with a cell phone receives a text message informing them exactly when they will die. Ea then locks God's computer and escapes from the apartment through a washing machine which provides a tunnel to the outside world. Wandering the streets of Brussels, Ea decides to follow in the footsteps of her brother Jesus and write a Brand New Testament as her contribution to the human race. She selects six apostles to narrate their life stories. She first enlists a homeless man, Victor, to be her scribe, since she cannot write well.

The first apostle is a reclusive woman who lost her left arm in an accident and feels nobody will love her. The second is a man who hates his work and his life, who has decided to never move from a bench in the park now that he knows the date of his death. Ea translates to allow him to converse with a bird. This induces him to follow a flock of birds to the North Pole. The third apostle is a sexually frustrated man who is awkward with women and remains lovesick for a German girl he met once as a boy. With Ea's encouragement, he becomes a voice actor for porn movies, where he encounters and establishes a relationship with his lifelong fixation. The fourth apostle is a man who is fascinated with death and killing. He purchases a rifle and shoots people knowing that, since all death dates are already predetermined, they can not be his responsibility. Ea prods him to shoot a woman, the first apostle. He hits her in her prosthetic arm. Believing this to be a divine signal, he courts the woman and they establish a relationship, and he learns to embrace life instead of death. The fifth apostle is an elderly woman trapped in a loveless marriage, especially now that her husband knows he will outlive her by many years. Ea persuades her to cheat on her husband. She has sex with a young male prostitute, and then forms a love relationship with a gorilla. The gorilla scares her husband away, to her delight. The sixth apostle is a sickly boy who, when he discovered he had only days left to live, decided to live them as a girl. Ea encourages him to live each day as the equivalent of one month.

God is horrified when he discovers what Ea has done and that he can no longer torment humans. Locked out of his computer, He is powerless. He leaves the apartment using the chute in the laundry room, and in the real world He suffers all the mistreatment and frustrations He created for mankind. He is assaulted by everyone He meets. He discovers to his horror that the tunnel to his apartment has disappeared and He is trapped on Earth powerless and alone. He takes shelter in a church, where his outrageous criticism of his son Jesus Christ provokes a charitable priest into beating him senseless and eventually deporting him to Uzbekistan with a group of illegal immigrants.

Ea and her apostles go to the seaside where hundreds of people have gathered to spend the last hours of their lives. An airplane, which happens to be carrying God under police escort, falls out of the sky and threatens to crash onto the beach and kill everyone. At the last moment, however, God's wife realizes that the number of apostles has grown to 18, her favorite number, explores her husband's work space, unwittingly restarts his computer, and begins to configure a new life for mankind. She deletes the messages that notified people of their death date. The airplane regains altitude and a new creation is born under a flower-filled sky. Victor publishes the Brand New Testament which becomes a bestseller and catapults him out of hopeless poverty into a whole new life of fame and fortune. God reaches Uzbekistan where he works on an assembly line manufacturing washing machines. He keeps on searching without success for the washing machine with the escape hatch that will take him back to his apartment.



The Brand New Testament received generally favorable reviews from film critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 82%, based on 74 reviews with an average rating of 7/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Brand New Testament takes a surreal, subversive, and funny look at Biblical themes through a modern — and refreshingly original — lens."[9] At Metacritic, the film received an average score of 70 out of 100, based on 17 reviews from mainstream critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[10]


Award / Film Festival Category Recipient(s) Result
Austin Film Critics Association[11][12] Best Foreign Language Film The Brand New Testament Nominated
Belgian Film Critics Association[13] Best Film The Brand New Testament Won
Biografilm Festival[14] Europa Audience Award The Brand New Testament Won
Guerrilla Award for Best Film The Brand New Testament Won
Cannes Film Festival[15] Art Cinema Award The Brand New Testament Nominated
Europa Cinemas Label Award The Brand New Testament Nominated
SACD Prize The Brand New Testament Nominated
César Awards[16] Best Foreign Film The Brand New Testament Nominated
David di Donatello[17] Best European Film The Brand New Testament Nominated
European Film Awards[18] Best European Comedy The Brand New Testament Nominated
Best Production Designer Sylvie Olivé Won
European Film Awards[19] People's Choice Award for Best European Film The Brand New Testament Pending
European Film Festival Palić[20] Best Film The Brand New Testament Nominated
Fantastic Fest[21] Best Comedy The Brand New Testament Won
Filmfest Hamburg[22] Art Cinema Award The Brand New Testament Nominated
Francophone Film Awards[23] Best Film The Brand New Testament Nominated
Best Screenplay Jaco Van Dormael and Thomas Gunzig Won
Best Actor Benoît Poelvoorde Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Yolande Moreau Nominated
Golden Globe Awards[24] Best Foreign Language Film The Brand New Testament Nominated
Gopo Awards[25] Best European Film The Brand New Testament Nominated
Haifa International Film Festival[26] Best International Film The Brand New Testament Won
Carmel Award The Brand New Testament Nominated
Lumières Awards[27] Best French-Language Film The Brand New Testament Nominated
Luxembourg Film Awards[28] Best Film in Coproduction The Brand New Testament Won
Best Technical Achievement Marco Lorenzini Nominated
Magritte Awards[7] Best Film The Brand New Testament Won
Best Director Jaco Van Dormael Won
Best Screenplay Jaco Van Dormael and Thomas Gunzig Won
Best Supporting Actress Yolande Moreau Nominated
Best Supporting Actor David Murgia Nominated
Most Promising Actress Pili Groyne Nominated
Most Promising Actor Romain Gelin Nominated
Best Cinematography Christophe Beaucarne Nominated
Best Sound François Dumont, Michel Schillings and Dominique Warnier Nominated
Best Original Score An Pierlé Won
Méliès d'Or[29] Best European Fantastic Film The Brand New Testament Nominated
Norwegian International Film Festival[30] Audience Award The Brand New Testament Won
Special Jury Prize The Brand New Testament Won
Palm Springs International Film Festival[31] Best Narrative Feature The Brand New Testament Runner-up
Satellite Awards[32] Best Foreign Language Film The Brand New Testament Nominated
Sergio Amidei Award[33] Best Screenplay Jaco Van Dormael and Thomas Gunzig Nominated
Sitges Film Festival[34] Best Film The Brand New Testament Nominated
Best Actress Pili Groyne Won
Best European Fantastic Film The Brand New Testament Won
Tallgrass Film Festival[35] Outstanding Narrative Feature The Brand New Testament Won
Trailers FilmFest[36] Best European Trailer The Brand New Testament Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Le Tout Nouveau Testament". JP's Box-Office.
  2. ^ "Le tout nouveau testament". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  3. ^ Chang, Justin (21 April 2015). "Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Unveils 2015 Lineup". Variety. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  4. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (22 September 2015). "Belgium Sends 'The Brand New Testament' To Foreign-Language Oscar Race". Variety. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  5. ^ "9 Foreign Language Films Advance In Oscar Race". Oscars. 17 December 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  6. ^ Kilday, Gregg (17 December 2015). "Oscars: Nine Titles Advance in Foreign Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  7. ^ a b Moury, Gaëlle; Bradfer, Fabienne (7 February 2016). "Jaco Van Dormael et la Flandre se distinguent aux Magritte du cinéma". Le Soir (in French). Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  8. ^ Wise, Damon; Wise, Damon (16 May 2016). "New Talent Emerges From Belgian Cinema Scene".
  9. ^ "The Brand New Testament (Le tout nouveau testament) (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  10. ^ "The Brand New Testament Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  11. ^ Anderson, Erik (15 December 2016). "Austin Film Critics Association (AFCA) Nominations: The Handmaiden Lands Top Mentions, Trevante Rhodes Double Nominated". Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  12. ^ Miller, Neil (15 December 2016). "2016 Austin Film Critics Awards Nominees, 'Moonlight' and 'Arrival' lead the way in AFCA's 2016 nominations". Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  13. ^ De Clercq, Charles (18 December 2015). "La présélection de l'UCC et le prix Cavens". Cinécure (in French). Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  14. ^ "Biografilm 2015, tutti i vincitori" (in Italian). 15 June 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  15. ^ "Récompenses et nominations pour le film Le Tout Nouveau Testament" (in French). AlloCiné. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  16. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (27 January 2016). "'Golden Years,' 'Marguerite,' 'Dheepan,' 'Mustang' Lead Cesar Nominations". Variety. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  17. ^ Lombardi, Letizia Lara (22 March 2016). "David di Donatello 2016, ecco tutte le nomination". Best Movie. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  18. ^ Lodge, Guy (7 November 2015). "'Youth,' 'The Lobster' Lead European Film Award Nominations". Variety. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  19. ^ "The EFA opens vote for the People's Choice Award". Cineuropa. 1 September 2016. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  20. ^ "European Film Festival Palić to include the world premiere of Veiko Õunpuu's Roukli". Cineuropa. 17 July 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  21. ^ "The Brand New Testament wins Best Comedy at the Austin Fantastic Fest". Wallonie-Bruxelles Images. 2 October 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  22. ^ "The Brand New Testament". Filmfest Hamburg. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  23. ^ "4ème édition des Trophées Francophones du Cinéma". Afiavi. 4 October 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  24. ^ Lang, Brent (10 December 2015). "'Carol,' Netflix Lead Golden Globes Nomination". Variety. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  25. ^ Iulia, Blaga (24 February 2016). "Aferim! Leads Gopo Awards Nods". Film New Europe. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  26. ^ Fainaru, Edna (5 October 2015). "Elad Keidan's 'Afterthought' wins at Haifa Film Festival". ScreenDaily. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  27. ^ "Prix Lumières 2016 : Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse et Mustang en tête des nominations". AlloCiné. 4 January 2016.
  28. ^ Pinto, Vitor (16 December 2015). "Luxembourg's D'Filmakademie unveils nominations for its biennial awards". Cineuropa. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  29. ^ "La jeune actrice bruxelloise Pili Groyne récompensée au festival de Sitgès" (in French). RTL. 17 October 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  30. ^ Rossing Jensen, Jorn (20 August 2015). "Jaco Van Dormael's 'The Brand New Testament' wins in Haugesund". Screen Daily. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  31. ^ Lowe, Kinsey (10 January 2016). "'Labyrinth Of Lies', Nora Ephron Doc 'Everything Is Copy' Take Audience Awards At Palm Springs Fest". Penske Business Media. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  32. ^ "Satellite Awards (2015)". International Press Academy. IPA. 2 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  33. ^ "Presentato il 35° Premio Sergio Amidei". (in Italian). 10 October 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  34. ^ "'The Invitation' is proclaimed the winner of Sitges 2015". Sitges Film Festival. 17 October 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  35. ^ Erbland, Kate (20 October 2016). "Film Festival Roundup: AFI FEST Adds 'La La Land' Gala, London Awards Kelly Reichardt's 'Certain Women' and More". Indiewire. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  36. ^ "Tutti i premiati della quattordicesima edizione del Trailers Film Festival". (in Italian). 10 October 2016. Retrieved 10 October 2016.

External links[edit]