Deliver Us (Liberami)
It’s not a regular occurrence that the Sun and the Daily Mail, those bastions of quality journalism, take time away from their dedicated pursuit of articles detailing celebrity cellulite and salacious sexual proclivities to give coverage to a foreign language documentary. Still, the details of Deliver Us are more intriguing (and, indeed, more marketable) than many other efforts lumped under the banner head of documentary, meaning that the film has interestingly been given tabloid coverage.
Director Federica Di Giacomo’s project details the brutal and seemingly increasingly more commonplace art of exorcisms performed by the Catholic Church in Italy. One person’s mental illness is another’s demonic possession, and the blind faith involved – the conclusive point of view that such behaviour is undoubtedly the work of demons (and as such, can only be eradicated by religious ministrations) – can be profoundly unsettling. The suffering is undeniable, and at times difficult to watch, and yet the acceptance that demons are to blame, coupled with the expectation that only a vessel of God can bring peace and absolution, is often downright chilling.
None of the participants in Di Giacomo’s compelling documentary are demonised (aside from the supposed demons), and Sicilian Franciscan Father Cataldo Migliazzo and his cohorts have a genuine belief that their exorcisms are necessary and beneficial, just as the families of those who are affected also believe. An objective (and, perhaps, an atheist) observer would view this as a shared delusion that is only prolonging the impact of the various mental disorders that have been labelled as demonic.
Deliver Us makes for an absorbingly uncomfortable viewing experience (which at times can be unexpectedly amusing), and the fictionalised concept of demonic possession has served Hollywood well, with many a narrative of varying qualities being crafted from this unfamiliar yet darkly relatable fear. The documentary does depict some of the usual suspects – supposed demons screeching from within their human host as they writhe about on the floor. For audience members who don’t share the particular type of faith necessary to buy into the fervour on display, another type of religious acknowledgement might be utilised. Pray that the poor souls depicted actually receive the practical treatment that they so desperately need.
Deliver Us (Liberami) is released nationwide on 27th October 2017.
Watch the trailer for Deliver Us (Liberami) here: