The Whole New Testament, between triumphs and hopes

  • 20.10.2015

For the past two years, the Méliès d’or for best film ” gender The “European” awards went to French-speaking Belgian productions : Alleluia of Fabrice Du Welz (co-financed by Wallimage) succeeded Vincent Lannoo ‘s Au nom du fils in the list of winners. Already in 2001, Thomas est amoureux by Pierre-Paul Renders won.

The Méliès d’or is awarded once a year by a jury gathered at a major continental fantasy festival. He must choose among the films awarded throughout the season with a Silver Méliès. Last year Alleluia had beaten The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, also awarded a Silver Méliès, in Trieste (Wallimage/Bruxellimage co-finances Cattet and Forzani’s new film).

If we recall these beautiful memories today, it is because The Whole New Testament from Jaco van Dormael has just won a formidable silver Méliès in what remains perhaps the most prestigious event of this style in Europe (with the Brussels BIFFF) The International Fantastic Film Festival of Sitges.

As good things never come alone, the young Pili Groyne also received the award for best actress.
Will Belgium, which is already the most successful country in the list of winners behind Spain, which, as we know, has a cult following for these films from the margins and has long since given itself the means to produce excellent ones, achieve an exceptional third place?

We will know this on November 6th during the Scienceplusfiction Festival in Trieste.


These two prizes are in addition to several awards already won, such as the Audience Award in Haugesund (Norway) and the Biografilm Festival in Bologna.
Not to mention, of course, the Best Comedy Award at Austin Fantastic Fest, the largest genre film festival in the United States.
The Austin Fantastic fest specializes in horror, fantasy, science fiction and action films from around the world. Last year in the Fantastic features category, Alleluia won… four of the five prizes at stake.


The most surprising thing about this story is that The Brand New Testament has an atypical profile, as it manages to make its mark in festivals while being extremely popular in commercial theaters.

After almost six weeks in theaters, it passed the 800,000 mark in France, and also managed to attract more than 240,000 spectators in Belgium. In general the ratio France / Belgium is at least 15/1. The performance achieved here is therefore quite astonishing. It is explained by a rare national distribution : 50% of the public comes from Wallonia. The other 50 percent is shared equally between Flanders and Brussels.


While Flemish films frequently manage to break the 200,000 mark, French-speaking Belgian films are almost never so lucky.

With this score, Le Tout Nouveau Testament is in third place in the hierarchy of French-language feature films produced here. It follows The Eighth Day already a film signed by Jaco Van Dormael (which recorded more than 700,000 admissions here) and the unmissable It happened near you by Rémy Belvaux, Benoît Poelvoorde and André Bonzel, which, with its 400,000 tickets sold for a derisory budget, is naturally the best return on investment of French-speaking Belgian cinema.

These figures are of course not definitive : The Brand New Testament is still playing in many Belgian and French theaters and these new prices should not dampen the general enthusiasm.

Let’s also remember that Jaco Van Dormael’s fourth feature film, also obviously co-financed by Wallimage/Bruxellimage, represents Belgium for the title of Best Foreign Language Film at the next Oscars. We will know in January if he is part of the short list selected by the American professionals who will choose the 2016 winner. It is also nominated for the European Films Awards.

Two more reasons to keep your fingers crossed for this offbeat comedy that is so Belgian it has become universal.