Federica Di Giacomo (INTERVIEW)
Do you mind just telling us a little bit about the film, LIBERA NOS?
The film is about the exorcism in the contemporary world and the exorcism as part of a daily life.
What inspired you to make a film about real life exorcisms?
Well it was kind of the casualties. I mean, I was living in Sicily and then I read in the newspaper that there was a training course for exorcist priests. So, I mean, it was something so weird to put together this whole thing, like something about the past, like mediaeval past, like an exorcism training course. So I ask myself why it was possible? I tried to ... I came to do research about it. And then, surprisingly, I found many priests that were available to explain what the phenomenon ... That was a phenomenon that was increasing and increasing, so it was really contemporary thing. And that make me think, that a film about exorcists could be a good point of view to speak about the conception of illness in our society. That makes me more interested in the phenomenon.
That's a wonderful way to learn about the way things are, obviously, to learn from an actual course in doing that. It's a strange approach. Obviously, you take on the film and obviously you do follow a number of ... Father Cataldo Migliazzo in obviously doing some of these exorcisms.
How did it feel for you to witness those exorcisms in real life?
The interesting thing about exorcism was the beginning. All our imagery comes from horror movies. So we don't have a real experience about that. We don't know exactly what it is. So this film was an occasion to show ... because I didn't find any real good documentary about that. So it was really a challenge to show in the documentary what we knew only from fiction point of view. And to show how it is lived by the people who do this. Even to show the priest and the exorcist in a human point of view. Because they don't choose to be actors, they are nominated by the bishop. So their life is completely transformed and they become quite a soul doctor in a way that is really strong. Because a lot of people come to them every hour and every day. They are quite upset by people. So in a way it was also to take the human point of view about the exorcism, to show what they are doing, the reality. And also, when they had doubts, or when they had human weakness. In this spiritual fight.
There are some intense moments in the film, especially when Father Migliazzo did perform the exorcism. Was it scary to watch the exorcisms?
Ah, no. The most scary thing was the first exorcism, because the first exorcism is something to match what you're imagining about. So you don't know what you will see. The interesting fact is that after three years, we were seeing exorcism, it wasn't a question of fear anymore. Of course, there was a question about, to see something really emotionally intense and to see the suffering of the people, the pain of the people. And also, to share this pain. But it wasn't more about fear. So what I understood is that basically the fear has much to do with not know something, but when the exorcism becomes part of your daily life, like in the case of the priest or the suffering people, or our case, because we wanted to do a film about, so we stayed a lot of time there. Then it is not a question of fear. Everything is going to a human level. And then it's a question of suffering, not fear. Not paranormal fear.
Absolutely, and that certainly comes across in the film. I think there's a lot of the human element to that. Why do you think so many people take exorcism as a course, and do you think that it's something to do with their mental health? Why do you think people suddenly go through an exorcism?
There are a lot of explanations, like theological explanation about increasing of satanic mass and so on. The increasing of magician, people that go ... the magician and so on. In the deepest level, I think there is a question about the fact that in our society there is a lot of suffering that we can not explain in our categories. And we cannot control. We want to control everything because society asks to us to be always in control, but that's not possible. So there are always some kind of irrational forces and irrational energy that want to come out. And in a way, every culture has deliveration rituals for that. In our society, we don't have so much deliveration rituals. So in a way, it also can be a moment in which you can release some kind of rage, of energy, or bad energy, if you want. But in a way, you can release. So this is my sensation, but of course it's something so complex that I don't have only one explanation for that.
Do you feel that films like THE EXORCIST and THE LAST EXORCISM encourage or detract people from having a real life exorcism?
It's fantastic because everyone is asking me this. I think it is the imagery in these fantastical things that create realities. And in a way, create imagery for lots of generations. But since what I saw, the phenomenon is really much to do with some kind of archetypes from culture that are more detailed than the movies' imagery. So I don't think it can be only a question of auto-suggestion if you saw the movie or if you saw a horror movie. I think there is some kind of energy that is universal and it is inside the human being. This a way to make the energy going out. But in every culture, there is, for example, there is exorcism even in the African culture, even in Islamic culture, even in Jewish culture, there is this kind of energy and this kind of evil. So I don't think it's a question of movies.
DELIVER US (LIBERA NOS) is availible now at Amazon and other retailers and also online.