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Italy, 1968

Original music : Egisto Macchi Production : Egle Cinematografica

Programmed by Daniela Persico



Luigi Di Gianni’s Films


In the province of Salerno in Campania, a village is attracting more and more pilgrims, sometimes several hundred a day. Arriving by bus, car and even on foot, they pray to Saint Antony to protect them from demons and disasters. They do this through the intermediary of a certain Giuseppina who embodies the dead soul of young Alberto, the grandson of the former seminarian who died accidentally some ten years earlier. Extraordinary behaviour (hysterical screaming, frenzied possession), discreetly tolerated by the Catholic authorities – better a lost sheep than a Communist unbeliever – occurs under a deluge of religious injunctions…

Tënk's opinion

What’s especially symbolic about this film is the intervention of ethnologist Annabella Rossi, who points the director to a strange transformation of ancient rituals into something new, which takes place through the body of a woman. Where once the Church would drive out evil in the faithful, a new saint – a man of the people – now takes possession of the old aunt's body to bring comfort to the sick. Di Gianni is fascinated by this "possession", emphasising once again his expressionist dimension, but behind vaguely voyeuristic appearances, the authors portray a healing that occurs through the listening and understanding that the women themselves offer other women. Di Gianni remained very attached to this minor revolution, returning to film them in 1971. In 2005, he discovered that the Church had covered up the events and restored order.

Daniela Persico
Programmer and critic

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Item 1 of 4

Item 1 of 4