Discovery

Apostasy

Daniel Kokotajlo

Apostasy 01

Family and faith come into conflict for two Jehovah’s Witness sisters in Manchester, when one is condemned for fornication and the other pressured to shun her sibling.

This fresh, unadorned first feature from director Dan Kokotajlo carries an unmistakable note of authenticity from its very first scenes. Set in a Jehovah's Witness community in England, the film's strength and power lies in its directness.

Apostasy depicts the growing rift in a family — a mother and two daughters — who are rigorously devoted to their religion. Raised in The Truth, as the faith is known to Jehovah's Witnesses, sisters Alex, 18, and Louisa, 21, take their religious mission door to door amongst a large Pakistani community in Oldham, Greater Manchester. It comes as a shock to both Alex (Molly Wright) and the girls' equally devout mother, Ivanna (Siobhan Finneran), when Louisa (Sacha Parkinson) starts seeing a young man who is a non-believer and begins pushing back against Ivanna's straightjacket of values. The Elders of the church watch carefully and Louisa is condemned for having lost her way.

At the same time, Alex is courted by a new arrival, a committed Elder who receives the blessing of her mother the and community alike. What transpires from there is far from predictable, and the outcome stretches the women's faith to its breaking point. As the sisters embark on their own paths, Ivanna's love and loyalties are torn.

Kokotajlo guides us through the emotional depths of a family whose hearts are fractured by colliding beliefs. Apostasy marks the arrival of a fine new talent.

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