The film Apparition releases today on DVD. I wrote about this film several posts prior (see post) and want to share that it's a worthy film to purchase and use for faith formation events and classes. I believe it helps us question who we are and why we believe. Here's part of my review:
Xavier Giannoli’s film, The Apparition (L’Apparition) examines one such supernatural occurrence. It is a riveting reflection, though a bit long, on one young woman’s claim to have seen the Blessed Mother appear to her on a hillside. The Vatican calls together a group of experts to examine the claim by going to the village in southern France to investigate the 18-year-old young woman named Anna (Galatea Bellugi). The team is comprised of theologians, canon lawyers, psychologists, and a French war-weary journalist Jacques, played by the Cannes best actor winner Vincent Lindon (The Measure of Man). Jacques recently returned from the Middle East where he watched his friend and colleague, a combat photographer, die at his side. Suffering from emotional shock he buries himself away from social interaction until the French Cardinal invites him to take part in a special mission by the Vatican. The Church leaders want him to investigate the supposed apparition to determine if Anna is telling the truth or not. Reluctantly, he goes, though his pain is still very raw and a ringing in his ears never lets up.
When the team arrives at the pilgrimage site, they set up a meeting place where they interview all who are involved, most especially Anna herself. Her wide-eyed demeanor and simplicity intrigue Jacques, to the point that he obsesses over uncovering every detail about her and her story. He discovers that she was an orphan who grew up in foster homes and finds her to be a sensitive and devout young woman. Yet, there are many strange coincidences that make him question her motivations and the mysteries around the apparitions. In the meantime, people come from all over the world to see her, who is highly protected by the parish priest, Father Barrodine (Patrick d’Assumcao) and an overly pietistic businessman Anton (Anatole Taubman) who takes advantage of the situation to make a profit through all paraphernalia that is concocted as souvenirs.
Anna lives in a convent as a novice, though she does not wear any kind of religious garb, thus making me wonder if the filmmakers understand what a “novice” really is. In any case, she prays, eats very little, and visits a friend undercover who hands her letters from a fellow foster home girlfriend now living in the Middle East. We see Anna struggling with the numerous requests she receives, to the point of imposing what seems to be a self-inflicted fast.
Jacques, a non-practicing Christian at best and an agnostic at worst, struggles with his own beliefs while being confronted with the overly expressive faith of the apparition seekers. At first, he seeks to debunk the claims, but slowly comes to feel for the young woman and her conflicted soul. She longs to be set free from the secret she keeps hidden, to the point of madly running away in the middle of the night.
As the film progresses it becomes more about Jacques and his faith than Anna and the apparition. His own journey to seek the grace of God present in the ordinary situations of life change his perspective on his investigation. Perhaps the film really is about Jacques and the miraculous that occurs within when faith in enkindled. The ending leaves us questioning if the apparition was true or not, but perhaps Giannoli is not as concerned with the truth of the actual supernatural occurrence, but what really happens within a soul that is healed from pain and given a chance to see new life through the sacrifice of one simple soul.
So, if you want to own a copy of this DVD. Send me an email with your name and address and you will be in a drawing to receive your FREE COPY! Email me here. The drawing will happen on January 31st, 2019!
About the Author
Sr. Nancy is the Director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies and a Media Literacy Education Specialist. She has degrees in Communications Arts and a Masters in Theology and the Arts from Fuller Theological Seminary. She has extensive experience in the creative aspects of social media, print media, radio and video production as well as in marketing, advertising, retail management and administration.
Sr. Nancy has given numerous media mindfulness workshops, presentations and film retreats around the country to youth, young adults, catechists, seminarians, teachers and media professionals helping to create that dialogue between faith and media. She is a member of NAMLE (National Association of Media Literacy Educators), SIGNIS (World Catholic Association for Communicators) and THEOCOM (Theology and Communications in Dialogue) and board member of CIMA (Catholics in Media Associates). She is the author of a theology of popular culture called, A Sacred Look: Becoming Cultural Mystics from Wipf & Stock Publishing. Sr. Nancy is a theologian, national speaker, blogger and film reviewer.