Cri de Coeur


If you don’t sin, Jesus died for nothing.

Koen Kusters has only one dream since he was a little boy : becoming The Pope. But to reach that status he has to lie, cheat and blackmail other people. Along the way he looses everybody around him. Playboy Priest tells the story based on true events about the rise and fall of a playboy priest.

When a young priest finds his church completely trashed in the middle of the night, a voice is coming out of the confessional. None other than cardinal Koen Kusters (45) is begging to tell his story. “Then at least I have told the truth for once in my life.” Those words lead us back to the Venray of 1969. In elementary school the kids have to tell what they would like to become when they are older. Koen, 10 years old, drew a man in a dress: the Pope. He’s being mocked, but inspired by his local priest he begins at the seminar Rolduc at the end of his teenage years. priest, Bishop, cardinal, pope – the man directly under God, that’s the plan. When Koen goes after something, he goes for the highest possible, whatever what (or who) he must do for it. Koen appears to be a good student at the seminar and the conservative dean Daamen is impressed by Koen his (manipulative) qualities. Koen is the first in his class that is ordained as a priest. But the life as a priest in a small village is very disappointing. That changes when he makes contact with the feisty Maria, who is looking for the priest that abused her when she was younger. The two start a passionate affair. After several unfortunate events, Koen can enter the bishop's palace in Roermond. The highly efficient assistant Maximiliaan is assigned to him. With the help of Maximiliaan and Maria his path to popedom seems to be secured and nothing seems to stop the alcoholic, drug –and prostitute addict. Or won’t it? Will the others, who start questioning his fast climb up the Catholic career ladder, throw a spanner in the works? Or will finally his conscience kick in? Inspired by a true story of the rise and fall of a playboy priest.

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  • Release
  • End 2020 
  • Format
  • Feature
  • Director
  • Arne Toonen
  • Screenwriters
  • Thomas van der Ree
  • Jan Eilander
  • Michel Sluysmans
  • Joost Reijmers 
  • Cinematographer
  • Frank van den Eeden
  • Production design
  • tbd


  • Producer
  • Rinkel Film (NL)
  • Hazazah Pictures (NL)
  • Co-producer
  • Ciné Cri de Coeur (BE)
  • Samsa Film (LUX)
  • Financers
  • Dutch Film Works
  • Dutch Filmfund
  • Province Limburg
  • Luxembourgish Filmfund


  • Cast
  • tbd