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film

Jessica Hauser’s Lourdes

THE PROTAGONISTS of Austrian writer-director Jessica Hausner’s three feature films are all odd girls out. Frequently the subjects of gossip and backbiting, they are each defined, to varying degrees, by a certain attachment to Catholicism. The titular teenager of Lovely Rita (2001), for instance, is a slump-shouldered weirdo at Saint Ursula’s school. In Hotel (2004), Irene, a new employee at an inn deep in the Austrian Alps, is convinced that her prized possession—a diamond-encrusted cross necklace—has been stolen by one of her coworkers. And in Hausner’s new film, Lourdes (which opens at Film Forum in New York on February 17), wheelchair-bound Christine, hoping for a miraculous cure of her multiple sclerosis, becomes the target of envy, doubt, and derision among her fellow pilgrims.

One of the most gifted young filmmakers to emerge from Austria in recent years, Hausner has no interest in

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