Monday, January 07, 2008

Hand of God

The terrible crimes commited by members of the clergy from many religions on children have been documented in the past few years as more and more people are able to tell their experiences. The film 'Hand of God' delves into explaining the system that enables such criminal behaviour in the Catholic church. Here is an exerpt from an interview with the director, Joe Cultera.
Joe Cultrera: 'I can get my God elsewhere'
McCarthy: What was the catalyst for making the film Hand of God and your desire to create this documentary?
Joe Cultrera: The initial catalyst was watching other media treatments of the clergy abuse crisis and feeling they were all missing the point of origin. They never bothered to look at how we were sucked into the Catholic system from the get-go, how we were watched over by the eyes of those saints and bleeding hearts that lined the walls of our homes and that followed us wherever we went. We were taught fear, shame and embarrassment. It was those elements of our blind faith upbringing that allowed abuse to happen and go undetected, unspoken about for decades. My brother made me realize that the Catholic Church taught us all these things - in part - as a way of protecting itself. I wanted to make a film from the inside that dug under the fingernails of the situation and walked the viewer step by step through it. A film that was not afraid to criticize the very core of the situation, but that would do so in a very quiet, undramatic way - by simply showing what one survivor and his family went through. The film is pure experience, not gussied up with dramatic music and re-creations.
McCarthy: What was the most difficult part of the filming?
Joe Cultrera: Sitting down and asking questions of my brother, parents and sister that I did not really want to ask was very difficult and scary. Like most families, we do not sit around and have these sorts of deep discussions. They are not comfortable. But if there is anything I have learned from this process it is not to be afraid to talk or to confront your fears. The film created a dialogue and an understanding within our family that was not previously there. We are stronger because of it.

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