Vulgar Display of Power Pt 6 (The Devil and Father Amorth, 2017)

The_Devil_And_Father_Amorath_PosterFather Amorath was one of the Vatican’s most prominent Exorcists, in fact, he was the Exorcist in Chief.  William Friedkin, the director of the original the Exorcist presents one of his final exorcisms in the film.

Friedkin notes that at the time of the original film, he had never witnessed an exorcism.  He wanted to explore the topic, noting that he is a believer in the idea of supernatural forces.

He gives background into the film and book on which it was based, and the film includes bits of interviews with the late William Peter Blatty.  He explains when he wrote the book, originally he had planned on writing an account of a true life event. However, as time had gone on, sensitivity for the family resulted in Blatty choosing to make a fictionalized tale.

Friedkin meets with Father Amorath, who agrees to let him witness and film an exorcism of an Italian woman named Christina (there is a stipulation that Friedkin must film it himself, without a film crew present).

Friedkin interviews the woman Christina(she is revealed to have been through nine unsuccessful Exorcisms, which kind of challenges the notion of the power of the ritual) and her family. But Friedkin also interviews mental health experts and neurologists. I admit, the voices Christina utters are certainly unsettling, but still, the film leaves some doors open, in spite of Friedkin’s personal lack of skepticism.

Its is an interesting documentary and Friedkin’s involvement gives it an interesting perspective. It is not truly conclusive, and I suspect will, much like Friedkin’s 1973 film will impact the viewer based on what they bring to the film. The faithful will feel affirmed, the skeptical will remain skeptical.

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