Deliver Us (Liberami) – Film Review
Director: Federica Di Giacomo
Writers: Andrea Osvaldo Sanguigni (as Andrea Zvetkov Sanguigni), Federica Di Giacomo
This is a documentary that largely follows Father Cataldo and a special mass he holds on Tuesday evenings. If you stumbled upon this happening you might find yourself in unusual company. As the priest states at the start of the mass, there are a number of people in the church that are possessed! You see, Father Cataldo is one of the most sought-after exorcists in Sicily and this is his story.
There are three main possessed people we meet. In the movies a possession is a one off event and once you evict the nasty tenant everything goes back to normal. In reality it is a bit more complicated than that. Sometimes exorcisms just don’t take, the spirits disappear on cue and then sneak right back inside when no one is watching. The first of those possessed is a likely candidate, complete with tattoos up his neck and a variety of studs and piercings. It would be more of a surprise if he wasn’t possessed, if we’re being honest! The second is a middle aged woman who sometimes gets down on all fours and growls like a cat. The last one is a young woman, with her very understanding parents that accompany her to these events like twisted stage parents.
As the film is set in Sicily you could think that it is an island thing and that it would not spread to the mainland, but the number of exorcists in Milan, Rome and the US is increasing by the year. This is the plague of our times! The film makers could be accused of taking advantage of these troubled souls, but they are happy enough to tell their stories. You will also be glad to hear that you can perform exorcisms over the phone which throws up images of call centres in India filled with priests banishing demons around the world!
It’s an intriguing documentary that has found a bizarre topic to explore. Are these people merely attention seekers or playing up to the camera? Are they mentally ill? Whatever you think, it is hard to say that they are not genuine in their belief. They act like they have an illness and if they can just find the right priest, they’ll be cured for good this time! There is something quite tragic about their need for regular cleansing, like a junkie looking for their next hit. In the words of a famous song ‘I’m gonna kick tomorrow’.