Carnegie Mellon University
January 25, 2021

2021 CMU Film Festival Begins with "Corpus Christi"

2020 Nominee for Best International Film will kick-off the Carnegie Mellon University International Film Festival

By Jolanta Lion

Stacy Kish
  • Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 412-268-9309
The Carnegie Mellon University International Film Festival will be revving back up for 2021. The first screening in the "Faces of Home" series is the Polish film, "Corpus Christi." The film was inspired by true events and follows 20-year-old Daniel who is sent to a remote village to work as a manual laborer after being released from a Warsaw correctional facility. Over the course of his incarceration, he finds Christ and aspires to join the clergy, but his criminal record stands in his way. A quick lie, however, allows Daniel to be mistaken for the village's new priest and he sets out to lead his new-found calling with nothing but his passion and charisma to inspire the community.

David Fear wrote in Rolling Stone, "'Corpus Christi' doesn't skimp on the humanity; the film earns the slow smiles it brings to your face. But it also has its eyes on a different endgame than you think it does regarding this white lie, and by the time the movie decides to come full circle, it's setting up a climactic shot that's a 100-watt jolt. It also somehow makes perfect sense. Salvation isn't a final destination. It's a journey."

"Corpus Christi" is a darkly humorous and engrossing exploration of faith, second chances and the possibility of atonement. The film was one of the finalists for Best International Feature Film at the 2020 Academy Awards. The film did go on to win awards at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival.

"Corpus Christi" is directed by Polish director Jan Komasa. His debut film was "Suicide Room," after which he directed "Warsaw '44." The screenplay was written by 28-year-old Mateusz Pacewicz, a Polish award-winning screenwriter and film director. The main cast consists of Bartosz Bielenia, who plays main character, David. He is joined by Aleksandra Konieczna, Eliza Rycembel and Tomasz Zietek.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the CMU Film Festival will be delivered virtually in the 2021 season. Viewers will be able to register in advance and participate in an online discussion for each film (spots during the live discussion are limited).

Viewing for "Corpus Christi" will be Jan. 23 - 29 with registration starting on Jan. 21. The first 50 people to register with the promo code "CMUIFF" will be able to watch for free.

There will be a live discussion on Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. EST. Participants include Jan Komasa, director of "Corpus Christi," and will be moderated by Patricia Donohue, adjunct professor of psychology at Chatham University and Jolanta Lion, assistant director of CMU's Humanities Center and director of the film festival. The discussion is free and also requires registration.

This event is organized in conjunction with Row House Cinema. Sponsored by the Humanities Scholars Program, CMU's Graduate Student Assembly, the Polish Cultural Institute New York, the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh and the Polish Falcons of America.


The Carnegie Mellon International "Faces" Film Festival was created in 2006 and is a project of the Humanities Center at CMU. The festival prides itself on being the only international film festival organized and run by university students from across Pittsburgh. Films showcased focus on current and global social issues that create meaningful dialogue among the broader Pittsburgh community.