Are there really miracles in Lourdes? .. Lourdes This small mountain town has become an edifice dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and a destination for pilgrims from all over the world, after a girl (that is, the Virgin Mary) appeared to a girl named Bernadette more than 18 times in five months in 1858 , in a cave near the river.
Lourdes is the most visited French city after Paris. Every year about six million visitors of all races and religions, bearing their hopes, dreams and pains, visit the cave, the underground church, the cellar and the Church of Saint Bernadette. Cosmopolitan, magical and mythical, it is one of those places secluded and disconnected from ordinary everyday life.
Questions that are quickly forgotten in the whirlpool of life, until this documentary film shown in French halls these days, watching it was an unmissable opportunity for a desire for knowledge and to satisfy a curiosity.
Avoiding religious overtones
The French directors of “Lourdes”, Thierry Domaniz and Alban Terlay, were very surprised after a friend told them about her stay and visit to the city of Lourdes. To the absence of any documentary film about this city, all they found were television investigations or feature films, and here the idea for this film immediately came to them.
After obtaining the approval of a production company, they decided to go there and start filming with a certain fear, as the issue is sensitive, and they do not want a film of a religious nature, but rather follow some pilgrims, approach them and learn their motives.
They were aware – as we announced in a promotional meeting for the film on the “e-cinema” website – the difficulty of accepting confession in front of the camera, and indeed this was considered very difficult, and it required a huge work. The two directors wanted to choose destinies that had a global dimension, and to interest all circles, they moved to the city, and the outcome was 250 hours of filming within about a year.
Searching for existence in solitude
In an exceptional film with its testimonies and subject matter, an hour and a half passes in a magical atmosphere with ten people, men, women and children of different origins and circumstances. The film begins with this scene, which may summarize the vision, experience and feelings of these people, and this urgent desire that drives them to come to this place. A scene that gives an idea of the content that is far from “religious” propaganda, and of the preconceptions that may be imposed by a superficial knowledge of the place and its characteristics.
A handsome, smiling, seated man sits next to a cleric who asks him if he has sensed a change in his condition as he has been coming to the city for 15 years, but he replies “Nothing special”, always with this smile that seemed to be part of his face in all his scenes that appeared With it, he doesn’t actually speak, but points his fingers at a board of letters to form words.
The testimonies of pilgrims united by faith, not all of them looking for a miracle of healing, but also for inner peace and peace of mind. They are powerful and touching testimonies that penetrate hearts with their honesty and spontaneity, and a neutral look that highlights humanity and courage, the weakness and strength of the sick being, on the human search for the meaning of his existence. In this place cut off from the world.
There, old and young, company heads, soldiers, officers, gypsies and prostitutes gather… people who were strong in their health and others weak in their inclinations, like this transgender person who cries in confusion and loss in front of his body, pleading for peace of mind that does not come to him despite his advanced age, or this patient with Charcot disease (body organs that paralyze Gradually the patient will reach complete paralysis and death after him), for whom there is no hope, so how do you face someone who tells you that you have only a year or two of life, why do you come here when you know that death is inevitable?
Pilgrims asking for a miracle
The documentary follows a specific scenario that begins with the preparations of the families it follows to travel to Lourdes, and in parallel the preparations of the nurses, health team and escorts to receive the disabled and elderly, and then follows each case in a smart and capable segmentation that does not fall into the trap of lengthening and narration, but rather depends on the short scene, and it moves smoothly And speed from case to case before returning to it again. It is not used in cases that are permanently reviewed by the dialogue method, but often leaves the speaker meditating or following his rituals, while his voice tells his different feelings, which gives the situation a greater and less tragic impact.
The best thing about the film lies in the attitudes of these pilgrims in front of the “request for a miracle.” One of them says that he is ashamed to ask for a cure, and another realizes that the Virgin did not fulfill the request because “if she was able to, she would have.” It is not possible to meet all of them.
Some of them do not ask for a miracle, for there is acceptance of the judiciary and what happened, and they only ask for the ability to bear the calamity or take care of the sick son as it should, such as this father who calls on the Virgin to help him and his wife to accept the imminent departure of their son .. “Give me the ability and courage to face disaster.”