Alleluia: Belgium Fabrice du Welz’s Version of The Lonely Hearts Killers

The selection of films for the Cannes Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight was unveiled at the Paris Forum des Images. One of the selected films comes from French-speaking Belgium: Alleluia by Fabrice du Welz.

Welz’s personal film, Alleluia is a free adaptation of an American ‘fait divers’ better known as “the Lonely Hearts Killers,” taking viewers along the meanders of a destructive passion.

Manipulated by a possessive and jealous husband, Gloria runs away with her little daughter to build a new life far from the world and men. At the insistence of her girlfriend Madeleine she agrees to meet a man called Michel via a dating site. Michel, a cheap small-time confidence trickster (profession: gigolo), gets in a flurry by the encounter and Gloria falls madly in love with him. She abandons her daughter en passes herself off as Michel’s sister in order to enable him to continue cheating lonely widows. But Gloria is increasingly eaten up by jealousy…

Alleluia is a free adaptation of a ‘fait divers’ which shook the USA between 1947 and 1949.  The story of Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez is the story of a young nurse and a con man who plunge into bloody tragedy.


The story of this American couple which swept through the USA during the late forties, was brought to the screen several times, more particularly by Leonard Kastle in 1969 (The Honeymoon Killers), by Arturo Ripstein 1996 (Profundo Carmesi) and recently by Todd Robinson in Lonely Hearts (2006).

Alleluia is Fabrice du Welz’ fourth film. The premiere of his debut feature Calvaire at the Cannes Critics’ Week in 2005 instantly established him as a highly peculiar ‘auteur’. In 2007 he shot Vinyan in Thailand with Emmanuelle Béart and Rufus Sewell. The film was selected for the Venice Mostra del Cinema’s Official Selection. Colt 45, a ‘film noir’ featuring Gérard Lanvin and Joey Starr, which is currently in post-production, is scheduled for release end of 2014.

Alleluia received – just like Calvaire and Vinyan – support from the Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel and is a co-production between Belgian Panique ! and French Radar Films. The film will theatrically released in the Benelux by O’Brother Distribution this autumn. SND handles the international sales.

Directors’ Fortnight

This sidebar was established in the aftermath of the events of May 1968 by the Société des Réalisateurs de Films (SRF) as an off-festival of the Cannes Film Festival. The idea was to offer young ‘auteurs’ a platform and to highlight the achievements of recognized ‘auteurs’. The Directors’ Fortnight has a structure of its own and has the reputation of a ‘counter festival’. Even if the directors fortnight has no competition of its own, the selected films qualify for the prestigious Camera d’Or as well as other prizes.