By Paulist Father James DiLuzio CSP
Wherever you are on the Spiritual Spectrum, in whatever way you evaluate the experiences of visionaries, especially those who attest to visitations from, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the new film FATIMA invites you to a valuable conversation about faith, mystery and the efficacy of prayer. Catholic and Orthodox Christians will find the film prayerful. Protestants and people of other faiths will be invited to explore ways they understand prayer, define their concepts of heaven, hell, and Divine Mercy. It raises important questions as to the realities of eternal life, the connection between heaven and earth on a day-to-day basis and the very nature of faith. People with agnostic sensibilities, or, who are confirmed atheists, might treat this meditative film as something akin to the challenges of practicing yoga as the picture highlights the conflicts within human hearts and social structures that challenge ongoing inner peace.
Beautifully photographed and scored, FATIMA is contemplative; it is not hagiography. It does not reek of piety or rapturous emotion, but it is thoughtful, and, at times, profound. Nevertheless, conflict and drama are evidenced within the Church and in issues of Church and State. All depicted skillfully by director Marco Pontecorvo. Plus, there are well-executed special effects, especially the well documented 1917 “Miracle of the Sun.” FATIMA is also well-acted. Two world renowned actors are featured in small but significant parts: Harvey Keitel as the skeptic professor who interviews Lucia, one of the visionaries in her senior years, and Sonia Braga, international Brazilian star as the elder Sister Lucia. The film, however, belongs to the three children – Stephanie Gil as ten-year-old Lucia dos Santos, Alejandra Howard as Jacinta Marto, seven, and Jorge Lamelas as her brother, Francisco Marto, nine. Miss Gil is often center stage, while Miss Howard is especially endearing. Lucia’s skeptic mother, Maria Rosa, played by Lúcia Moniz, is quite excellent, too, as is Lucia’s more sympathetic but conflicted father, Antonio, played by Marco D’Almeida. There is a moment in the film between father and daughter that continues to linger in my mind supporting an image of a better, more caring, sensitive world.
Although there are a few examples of dramatic license in FATIMA, the film offers authentic storytelling with an almost documentary-like detachment. Do not let this deter you from engaging in this movie! It offers numerous opportunities for the faithful and the secular to converse, share feelings and insights. Those interested in Christian-Muslim dialogue will find FATIMA a fine springboard for discourse. The people of Islam have a strong devotion to Mary, the Blessed Virgin, because of her surrender to God’s will for her. (“Islam” means “surrender.”) Neighborhood Churches and Mosques would do well to offer ZOOM, SKYPE, or MESSENGER meetings in small groups after watching the film on one of its many digital platforms beginning August 28th.
Note to Young Families: The three children’s visitation from the Blessed Virgin Mary from heaven is contextualized in the world of Portugal in 1916-17. Various acts of pieties such as strict fasting and willful acts of self-suffering and biblical concepts of an “Angry God” were common.
More Information at https://www.fatimathemoviel.com
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2197936/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 Father James DiLuzio CSP provides missions and retreats throughout the USA. See www.LukeLive.com Through this pandemic, he offers a YouTube series YOUNG AT HEART and Reflections on Luke’s Gospel entitled Luke Live! Both of these are available at https://www.youtube.com/JamesDiLuzio