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Review: The Devil and Father Amorth

The Devil and Father Amorth
04.21.2018
8 10

PLOT: Famed director William Friedkin takes a look at a real life exorcism, performed by Father Gabriele Amorth.

REVIEW: If ever there was a filmmaker known for his take on demonic possession, it would certainly be the director of THE EXORCIST. And several decades later, William Friedkin is revisiting the subject. This time however, we are witness to a woman named Cristina who is convinced a demonic force takes control of her. And on May 1st, 2016, Father Gabriele Amorth performed an exorcism on her with Friedkin filming the entire thing. While the actual footage lasts for only a few minutes, it certainly makes a big enough impression on the viewer. It may not be the pea soup spitting, head turning horror of his Academy Award winning feature film, but this documentary raised a number of interesting questions about the phenomena.

In this lean 68 minute documentary, Mr. Friedkin interviews Cristina, her boyfriend, and the man who she hoped would free her from the demonic presence. After a series of interviews, we witness the exorcism. The director, armed with a single camera, films everything in one shot. Afterwards, he presents the footage to a number of doctors and other specialist to give their thoughts on the validity of it. As well, he follows up on the outcome and what eventually becomes of his subjects. THE DEVIL AND FATHER AMORTH presents an unadulterated look at the very thing he terrified audiences with back in 1973 in an intriguing and open minded way.

the devil and father amorth documentary william friedkin demonic possession the exorcist

Let’s talk about the exorcism itself. The shot is simple. Friedkin is seated with several members of Cristina’s family. She is next to Father Amorth, ready to quite literally face her demons.  As he recites a series of passages to her, she begins to scream and yell that she is in pain. Her voice is distorted and raw, and yes, it sounds like something you’d see in your average horror movie. Aside from that she claims she is Satan and that the priest must leave. It is a relatively long sequence, yet it is one that you really can’t take your eyes off of.

In the last half of the feature, Friedkin interviews several medical professionals. What is fascinating about this is simply the question of what she is going through. In the video, Cristina is clearly in pain and it doesn’t appear to be any kind of act or performance. The doctors agreed. Thus, the questions raised are absolutely fascinating, and very important. What causes this feeling of possession? One point is made that an actual possession only happens to believers, so the idea that it is perhaps a manifestation of their own religious beliefs. Even still, you can’t help but watch what Cristina is going through, and hear that frightening voice, to wonder if perhaps there is something to the belief in a real life spiratual attack.

the devil and father amorth william friedkin demonic possession the exorcist

William Friedkin handles all this, camera in hand, with a very simple goal; capture a real exorcism on camera and discuss. Whether the viewer believes in possession or not, what he uncovers is captivating. The interviews with Cristina find a lovely woman who is dealing with this on a regular basis. Another interesting tidbit is that, according to the experts, somebody going through any sort of spiritual interference can live a very normal live with incidents happening over time. Certainly this is far different from when little Regan MacNeil was taken oven, but it is still very sinister and frankly, a bit sad.

When it comes to my own beliefs, I found that it didn’t matter whether you fully embrace the the reality of being possessed or not. William Friedkin’s look at what happens during an actual exorcism is an intriguing watch. Thankfully, it offers up the fact there are different beliefs when it comes to the supernatural and Satan taking over the body of an innocent. It may take awhile to truly grab you, but THE DEVIL AND FATHER AMORTH is a fascinating look at religion, mental health and the possibility of angels and demons.

 

Source: JoBlo.com

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