Review of exorcism documentary Deliver Us is over at Flickering Myth now and below…
Exorcism. To most of us that spells out unlucky priests gripping onto their crosses, noisy demonic activity and sweary puking possessed kids. In short, horror movies. But as this skillfully produced documentary shows us, the religious practise of exorcism is fully alive and, sort of, well.
Federica Di Giacomo’s startlingly original film presents Father Cataldo as our guide through this fascinating world of hope, faith and hysteria. Thousands of people believe that all sorts of problems and ailments are directly caused by demonic possession. Cataldo, through his weekly mass of liberation, offers a surprisingly frank and self-aware approach to the procedure and an alternately calming and cantankerous hand of assistance to those suffering for non-specific malaise.
The exorcism itself appears to be something like a drop-in therapy session, with a number of different characters from different backgrounds introduced specifically through their connection with the church activity. Some are regular churchgoers and some are assuredly not, drawn to the sessions instead because, literally nothing else works. This kind of helplessness and often sad reality is counterbalanced with the dry Sicilian wit and humour of Cataldo, who brings out the reality of working in this social enterprise.
The film also takes on the wider picture of how the Catholic Church has responded to the growing claims of possession and demonic influence. The number of fully accredited exorcists have gone up worldwide, partly due to a Rome based exorcist-training camp for Catholic priests. These disarming facts and scenes are treated with a journalist’s eye, and no one is made to look foolish or silly.
The audience is left to make its own mind up. One thing is for sure, the presence of a shared community and regular social activity appears to be the real saviour here.
DELIVER US (Liberami) is in cinemas 27th October and on DVD 30th October #DELIVERUSFILM
My review of the Mario Bava early giallo The Girl Who Knew Too Much is over at Flickering Myth now and also appears below…
Part of the considerable charm of this discerning Blu-ray release is that it shows exactly how two different releases of the same film can offer remarkably diverse experiences…
Bava’s original Italian release with the Hitchcockian inspired title takes in a far darker sense of impending dread and horror. After all, as the excellent extra features from various genre experts inform us, this title can in many senses be seen to be one of the first true giallo films, mixing elements of murder mystery with the modish cinematography and stylistic elements that would go on to inspire the next generation of blood-red drenched dream weavers.
The other take on this story is the re-edited and re-dubbed American release, complete with a voice-over and a far greater impetus placed on the romantic element of the story. In effect, the two films offer a very different feel. Personally I felt that the original Italian cut fares much better in treatment that the American one, and there are some truly disturbing sequences. What’s more is that Letícia Román’s Nora Davis character is far stronger, more of a daring private investigator of teen fiction style than the somewhat more doe-eyed counterpart presented in the American take.
Both films are agreeable enough and present a stylish look at the roots of giallo and Bava’s own gifts for experimentation. With all of this kept in mind, an interesting and intriguing double-bill can take place with the same core film…
High Definition Blu-ray and Standard DVD presentation of two versions of the film: The Girl Who Knew Too Much – the original Italian version; and Evil Eye – the re-edited and re-scored US version. Audio commentary by Mario Bava’s biographer Tim Luca, introduction by writer and critic Alan Jones, All About the Girl documentary on Mario Bava’s classic giallo. International and US trailer. Illustrated collector’s booklet