Recently, documentaries focused toward darker content have captivated wide-spread audience attention, as shows like MAKING A MURDERER and THE KEEPERS became regular water cooler discussions. The new movie DELIVER US aka LIBRA NOS (currently playing at the Fantasia Film Fest) will no doubt garner an equal amount fascination and is a must for any dark content documentary fans.
On the Italian island of Sicily in the northern town of Palermo, Father Cataldo is a celebrity. He is a short, squat man with an intimidatingly stout frame. He dresses in thick robes, because of his church’s lack of heat, that accentuate his size. His voice is thunderous, and his words are direct and to the point. He is a man whose entire life is a devotion to god. Even as he drives, he says a prayer placing his faith in god’s ability to bring him to his destination. People come from all over Sicily to be blessed by him. They also come to him to be “liberated” from their demons. They gather at Father Cataldo’s church for private blessings and consultations followed by a church service which is part horror movie, part Southern Baptist tent revival, and part PT Barnum sideshow.
DELIVER US is a documentary that follows three of Cataldo’s followers who believe themselves to be possessed by real demons.
Gloria is in her late-40s, and she has spent years falling through the cracks of the Italian health and mental health care systems. She has been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, then dismissed for not having enough depression and anxiety. She was even told she has multiple sclerosis only to undergo a test which then told her that she did not have multiple sclerosis. In the end, she believes that the Catholic church and her faith is the only thing that can cure her from her ailment, which sends her into frequent violent and animalistic fits.
Likewise, Giula is a teenage girl brought to father Cataldo by her very religious parents. She is prone to outburst of rage and near epileptic spasms. And Enrico is a young man dealing with his rage issues, who self-medicates with hardcore street drugs. All three believe Cataldo and the Catholic church are the only things that can cure them.
Documentarian Frederica Di Giacomo defies normal documentary style. She does not intrude on the scene; her shots are steady, letting the viewer remain an observer, eliminating that frenetic style that tries to turn the viewer into an active participant. Utilizing natural light, Di Giacomo captures beauty in every frame, letting the subject create its own aesthetic presence. What we’re left with is a clear presentation of the entire picture and the freedom to draw your own conclusions on whether these demons are real without any distractions.
Some of the interactions are violent as members of the church physically restrain these alleged victims of possession. Yet it is incredibly fascinating to see just how far devotion and faith can go. Rarely do we get to see people so consumed by evil, be it an actual demonic possession or the product of their own mind. Di Giacomo presents only what she sees and leaves conclusions to the viewer. The result is unexpected, disturbing, compelling, uncomfortable, and beautiful.
DELIVER US will be getting a 2017 release from Uncork’d Entertainment. Keep checking Blumhouse.com for more details on this fascinating film. Check out the trailer below.