A Belgian chronicle of a notorious 'red' priest and the formative years of his country's democratic process. During the closing decades of the 19th century, Aalst has become a thriving provincial mill town, a boon for the wealthy owners of the textile factories, less happy for the workers toiling for subsistence pay. The poor find a champion in Father Adolf Daens (Decleir), who is elected against opposition to represent the Christian People's Party in Belgium's new assembly. It's not long, however, before the establishment closes ranks to protect its interests. Without Decleir's gruff authority, the film would probably go for very little. As it is, the combination of stirring music, rippling indignation and plenty of idealistic speechifying marks it down as earnest, decent, middlebrow viewing.