The Blind Christ, or a collage of stories about religion
by Silvia Ricciardi
- VENICE 2016: Christopher Murray’s film, a Chilean-French co-production, centres around the need to have faith… in yourself
Participating in the competition section of the Venice Film Festival 2016 is Chilean-French co-production (via Ciné-Sud Promotion) The Blind Christ [+see also:
film profile], directed by Christopher Murray. The feature takes the form of a long journey of discovery of the true meaning of religion, a journey interspersed with stories that are brought to life by the memories and words of the main character and interrupt the linear progression of the film, with flashbacks of the past.
Over the course of the slow pilgrimage of the protagonist across a northern Chile, bearing witness to the exploitation of mineral resources by big businesses that leaves the local population to rot in decline, completely incapable of taking back their land, a boy by the name of Michael, played by young actor Michael Silva, re-embraces his faith after a family bereavement threatens to topple it. Citing, on several occasions, the statement that “God is not outside, but within us”, Michael invites everyone around him, and everyone he meets along his journey, to look within themselves to find a valid conclusion from not only a spiritual, but a logical point of view: if we believe that God is within every one of us, that he is part of our being, and that God is capable of making miracles happen, then, due to our transitive nature, we’re also capable of performing miracles.
Michael reunites significantly with his faith, which, by no coincidence, leads to a manifestation of the divine in the form of a light that lights up the conscience, from a fire lit in the desert, but he isn’t content with knowing that God exists, he wants to show his fellow citizens and himself, as further proof, that he can really perform miracles. The cornerstone of the subject matter carried on the shoulders of Michael Silva and borne with excessive contemplation by Christopher Murray’s camera is rooted in the need to believe in communication between people, without intermediaries. Indeed, Michael interacts in an extremely direct way with all those he bumps into, trying to establish an emphatic relationship with their true being, with the part of God held in the fibre of their bodies, fibre which, due to a loss of faith, has taken on the appearance of arid stretches of desert, just like the ones crossed by the protagonist. And then Michael opposes the intermediation by the Church, maintaining that individuals must try to find a relationship with God and themselves alone.
Hinging the content of the feature on words, in the form of accounts, and slow panoramic shots which leave the gaze of the viewer immobilised on the bodies hiding that divine light that they don’t know how to hide, Christopher Murray also sprinkles his film with clear references to stories about Jesus: Michael meets the people and listens to their afflictions, undergoes a journey of penitence in the desert, and acts as the messenger of God, handing down his teachings as if Jesus were speaking through his mouth because “faith is the sound that fills the void of the material absence of God”.
The film is being sold internationally by Spanish company Film Factory Entertainment.
(Translated from Italian)