This October the Italian exorcism documentary ‘Deliver Us’, also known as ‘Libera Nos’, from director Federick Di Giacomo, will open in LA and two other locations (yet to be announced). The documentary delves into the world of real exorcisms.
“Exorcism is still a fact of contemporary life. Every year, more and more people claim that their illnesses are caused by demonic possession.”
From the Press Release:
Father Cataldo is a veteran, one of the most sought-after exorcists in Sicily. Every Tuesday, many believers follow his mass of liberation, searching for a cure for some adversity for which there does not seem to be a label or a remedy.
The Catholic Church reacts to this crisis by nominating priests as exorcists in increasing numbers and by organizing training courses for them. In order to respond to the rising number of requests for deliverance from evil, all French dioceses have installed at least one exorcist. In Spain, the archdiocese of Madrid is desperately trying to fill seven additional positions.
In Rome and Milan alone, the number of exorcists has grown from six to 12, and the Church has set up an emergency call center. In the US, the number of exorcists has increased tenfold over the last few years.”
Director Federick Di Giacomo had this to say about the project:
My first aim was to find stories for a film about obsessions, a sort of a journey throughmental addictions. What I didn’t expect was to stumble on a discovery even crazier thanmy already crazy expectations. A training course for exorcist priests organized by the Catholic Church. And Sicily with its 20 exorcists represents, together with Lombardy, the most important forefront for this practice. That became the starting point of our long research, during which we took part in lots of deliverance masses, a very particular kind of mass that happens weekly, lasts three hours at least and in which God is begged for a collective deliverance from evil as a first step to private exorcisms.A strange post-modern puzzle was taking shape in my mind in which the Catholic Churchwas proposing again the ancient and extreme ritual of the exorcism as a new way of socialassistance for some typical contemporary malaise. The practice has become so widelydiffused that it has become necessary to organize trainings for priests, including lessonsabout psychiatry, youth trends, satanic cults and the different kinds of drug used in clubs orduring black masses. The exorcist as a modern healer is often considered the last resortafter “stations of the cross” full of wizards, psychiatrists, medical specialists and alternativecures. He becomes a metaphor of a society where the search of meaning becomesspasmodic like a quick, efficient and permanent cure, even if it means to give yourself overto someone who will call you Satan.Slowly I realized that this reality, distant as it was to me, was an extraordinary key to anincendiary state of mind, where the boundaries between lucidity and dissociation aregetting thinner.The fundamental question is not whether Satan exists, but how it is possible that exorcismscould become weekly appointments, a precise ritual with disturbing aspects, and alsosomething that can be integrated by everyone with their personal strategies, in everyday life.Possession and deliverance are part of a story about a continuous entering and exiting ofcertain states within yourself.The film’s structure runs the gamut from moments of everyday life to clearly abnormalsituations. The grotesque peaks come out naturally, but I believe we have managed tomaintain proper discretion and respect towards things that remain unknown and towardsthose who deeply touch the spirituality of some people.I chose to tell this story from the persective of the people who experience it every day. Notonly the “possessed” but also the priests who don’t choose to become exorcists, since theyare nominated by their bishops. They nevertheless take this position with faith andcompletely transform their lives, being “under siege” night and day. Father Cataldo is thesymbol of complete devotion joined to a disarming spontaneity and frankness. On the otherhand, there are the so-called possessed who are not Catholic fanatics, but common peoplewho move closer to the church in a particularly difficult moment in their life. Through theirexperience, they emancipate themselves from an imaginary horror, acquiring an originalcomplexity made of doubts, misinterpretations, but also of an unlimited sense of self-irony.