02nd Nov2017

‘Deliver Us (Liberami)’ Review

by Paul Metcalf


Whether you are religious or not you’ll have heard of exorcism and the role it plays in the Catholic Church. While it has made its way into popular culture with the likes of The Exorcist it is still a practice that is used to “rid” people of demons. Deliver Us is a documentary that gives us a peek into the world of the exorcist and the people they help.

Focusing on the work of the Sicilian exorcist Father Cataldo who is one of the most sought after for his skills. People come from far and wide to get his help for the problems they face that they say doctors can’t fixed. Taking a warts and all look, we get to see what the world of the exorcist is really like.

The way director Federica Di Giacomo presents the documentary is to just throw us straight into it. We see the Father Cataldo meeting the people who he is going to help, their families and just people there for his sermon. We witness him perform the exorcism and see how he treats the people he believes are possessed. While this includes a lot of shouting and physical reactions, it feels quite tame compared to the more sensationalised version we see Hollywood depict.

What we are seeing though is reality, whether we believe it or not. While the theme of religion is of course strong, we are not forced to believe what we are seeing, it is just presented to us. This is where Deliver Us can be a little disturbing.

If you are a person of faith, then you may believe that these people are possessed and that Father Cataldo is pushing real demons out of their body. If you don’t believe, and are more cynical, then you see people who do have problems being exposed to an atmosphere that further their ailments.

Looking at this documentary for what it presents though, we see a process that does work. People apparently come out of it ridding themselves of their “demons” and moving on to lead normal lives, though they are warned the demons could come back at any time. My response was to see a certain level of manipulation in effect, but it really is your own interpretation that matters.

The manipulation I saw was the focus on the person having to live a life of faith, that they had to get rid of things around their house of value because that sort of glorification of wealth is a weakness that lets the devil in. When looking at the Church you would argue that they show enough of their own wealth in that way (but in fairness, Father Cataldo’s church does not).

My views are not what is important here though, but my interpretation. This is what anybody watching Deliver Us will find themselves doing; interpreting it for themselves. There is no narration, we are just presented with the victims and the exorcist and we make our mind up about it. It can be argued that the footage we see is moulded into a documentary to try to influence us, but in my opinion the fact we see both the positive and negative side of the exorcism does argue against that.

Deliver Us is an interesting documentary because it shows a more real side to the exorcism ceremony, and the people who believe it will help them. Does it work to rid people of their problems/demons? That is open for debate, but with the documentary pointing out that many churches around the world are training up more and more exorcists, it seems that people do believe in the need for them.

****½  4.5/5

Deliver Us is available on DVD in the UK now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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