Every now and then, horror films about gory exorcism cases pop up in cinemas, usually retreading the hallowed ground first laid down by The Exorcist. No matter how bloody or how “inspired by true events” they claim to be, these films are clearly works of fiction, attempting to scare the audience with jump scares and fantastical imagery. Then there’s Italian director Federica Di Giacomo’s powerful documentary Liberami , which provides a glimpse into several real-life rituals conducted in recent times by Vatican-approved priests. Charting the surge of popularity of exorcisms in the contemporary world, the film follows a growing number of people who label their personal sense of unease as a case of possession. A beguiling observational documentary, Liberami contrasts the act of exorcism with everyday life — as well as the ancient and modern, the religious and profane — in a manner that’s sometimes disturbing, sometimes exhilarating. A deeply confronting film that packs a punch while refraining from judging its subjects, this is an intelligent rumination not so much on religion itself, but on the nature of belief and the responsibilities of religious institutions which many devotedly trust.
Liberami | Dir. Federica Di Giacomo | Documentary | 89mins | Italy | 2016 | Australian Premiere
“Deftly and elegantly spliced together… Liberami moves between moments which are equally revelatory, absurd, thought-provoking and moving.”
Venice Film Festival 2016