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Radmila Djurica

Radmila Djurica is your guide to the festival scenes: Sarajevo, Cannes and many more

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Martyrs in Heavan and Hell

Yes, a few words about Vatican and Rome! Ever since the prestigious attention for the shadowy life of monks or Roman Catholic clergy on Cannes Film Festival in 2010 there were not many films made today on the subject. I remember this film, it is about group of French Catholic monks who were martyred by the church (or better say sacrificed) in Africa, cause they were killed by Islamic fundamentalists in 1996. The film Des hommes et des dieux directed by French Xavier Beauvois won second highest honor in Cannes. However, if film is documentary, then such film are strictly attached to the educational purposes in Catholic oriented Universities or on educational TV channels. Either way, very little documentaries or feature films are made today to issue martyrs well unless they issue Jesus (and I won' t mention pretentious Gibson' s The Passion of the Christ without irony). One way or another, not too many good ones too. People are usually very cynical when it comes to Vatican or Pope, film directors who are doing such films too. And for the rest of the world, there is always a limited interest of the audience, especially for documentaries because only few specialized television channels today are running documentary films about monks and martyrs that actually made a difference, and not mentioned without the irony. I reckon that, only very good directors can crafts such films to be even a little interesting to the outside of religious world. Such projects involve many professionals, usually the professional actors narrate the film and it take a lot more effort then people usually think and very little money too involved, and sometimes even if it is funded by the Church.

I have met András Dér the Budapest film&theatre director and the winner of the Silver Pen and Béla Balázs Award while I was in the jury on the Hungarian film festival Jameson Cinefest in September this year. He was the Ecumenical jury reviewing the films from the religious perspectives I guess. András Dér had the premier of his film depicting Hungarian monk in Rome on 19th of November 2013. The Hungarian Embassy of Vatican and the Salesians organized the event with Roman Catholic cardinal Tarcsio Bertone and Pasqual Chavez, the successor of Don Bosco order. Therefore the film of András Dér from the University in Budapest  Servant of God/ István Sándor r celebrates Hungarian monk of the Salesian order Istvan Sandor who was killed in Hungary by communist in 50s. This low budget documentary&feature film easy- to -follow –style, wonderfully narrated on English makes a pretty good film for a wider audience and really I am telling this without the irony. András shows his clear filmmaking style here and with the kind of respect subjects the man without pretentiousness and religious drag. It is so called fake documentary that involves BBC- kind of documentary parts in narration and feature drama and it pictures and unfolds disclosure of critical information for the society, often overlooked in history. So yes, with this film you enter the world of monks, martyrs, wolves in sheep’s clothing, Stalin- style torture and political executions in Hungarian communist history. István Sándor  according to this film was a nice working class man who devoted himself to contemplation, church service and humility. A quiet man who was hiding from the communists and in July 1952 arrested and accused to plot against the communist state, tortured and hanged. At that time of Stalin on power, he was certainly not the first priest of any church really, prosecuted with or without reason in the communist countries in Europe due to their possible involvements with Nazi in II World War. What is shady here is the real reason of his prosecution. But anyway his Cause of martyrdom opened at Budapest on 24 May 2006 and the monk from the Catholic order of the Salesians of Don Bosco was beatified 60 years after he was killed.

And my question is why waiting so long, the 60 years to get him  martyrdom?   

András Dér Hungarian filmmaker


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