Yves Hinant & Jean Libon / 2016, San Sebastián, Atlantida, BFI London, Biografilm Festival, Ciné-Doc Tbilisi, Dublin, FNC Festival du Nouveau Cinema - Montreal, Gdansk, Göteborg, Helsinki, IDFA, Istanbul, Mar del Plata, Moscow, Munich, Oslo PIX, Palm Springs, Taipei, Thessaloniki Doc, Toulouse, Tromsø, Vilnius, Warsaw / 100'
Some twenty years ago, two prostitutes were murdered in an upper-class Brussels neighborhood. Celebrated Belgian magistrate Anne Gurwez decides to re-visit this cold case, poring over the evidence with the use of new technologies and tracking down former suspects only to find one dead and another living abroad. Over the course of three years Gurwez immerses herself in criminal investigations, hearings, and crime scene visits, providing a behind-the-scenes view of hidden aspects of society and human nature.
Teetering on farce and proving that truth can indeed be stranger than fiction, So Help Me God embraces the politically incorrect personality of its protagonist to shed clarity on intentionally opaque aspects of Belgian life. The feature documentary debut from Yves Hinant and Jean Libon— the team behind satirical cult television series Strip-Tease— premiered at Göteborg, Palm Springs, BFI London; San Sebastián, where it won a Special Mention from the Jury; and Dublin, where it won Best Documentary.
"Documentary about a Brussels judge is a surprising audience-friendly hit… An astonishing degree of behind-the-scenes access to police investigations and judicial audiences is a major audience draw (the release forms must have filled several folders), with a harrowing trump card being played right at the end. But this is not just documentary voyeurism. It's a portrait of a remarkable woman, and a lesson about how to stay human, and do the right thing, when all around are abusing partners, severing heads, killing hookers and threatening dire revenge"
"The power of So Help Me God lies in the rawness that its co-directors believe in so strongly, as well as in freedom of speech and their uncensored storytelling style… Despite the seriousness of the subjects, the film is not lacking in splashes of (black) humor, or even more relaxed moments, such as when the judge needs to detach herself from the obscure reality she's dealing with"
- Vassilis Economou, San Sebastián Review, Cineuropa
"Given the nature of the content, it's remarkable that the filmmakers were allowed to film it all"
- Film Program, IDFA - International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
"Libon and Hinant thread the finest line between documentary and mockumentary, relishing this grey zone… So Help Me God has to be accepted as a formalistic zeitgeist, the perfect amalgamate of documentary and fiction, the lasting dilemma being part of the package reflecting the reality as absurd, comic, macabre and with a tiny spark of hope, all the ingredients of life"