The Vatican Pontifical Councils for Culture and Social Communications will host the 11th Festival of Spiritual Movies dubbed “Tertio Millennio”, in Rome from December 11 to 16.
The first festival was held in 1997 and was attended by Pope John Paul II, who at that time said about films that “this communications tool can also have a teaching function, by helping the human person to know the universal values present in the different cultures and helping him to perceive the legitimate differences by the means of the exchange of gifts. … Films when used well, can contribute to the growth of a true humanism and, in the end, to the glory that rises from the created towards the Creator”.
Between December 11 and 16, twelve films are being exhibited at the Trevi Theatre in Rome, some of which are being screened for the first time.
According to L’Osservatore Romano, “the films have been selected for their capacity to bring the attention of the public to some dramas that have affected humanity in the past or at present.”
Among the movies exhibited at this year’s festival, which will showcase the largest number of non-Italian films thus far, is a work from the noted Russian Director Aleksandr Sokurov. He is presenting his film “Aleksandra”, which is about the drama of the civil war in Chechnya from a woman’s perspective.
Another relevant movie is “A Big Heart” from director Michael Winterbottom, which brings to the screen the drama of Mariane Pearl, the widow of the Wall Street Journal writer Daniel Pearl, who was murdered by radical Muslims in Karachi, Pakistan in 2002.
Two other documentaries bring the dramas of war and famine to the attention of the public: “Piedi per Terra” (Feet on Earth) and “The Devil Came on Horseback”. The first addresses the daily struggle of Italian volunteer Amanda Sandrelli in her effort to find families for war orphans in Malawi; while the second is the yet unpublished testimony of an U.S. Marine about the drama of Darfur in Sudan.
The film festival started on the 11th with the conference “Identity in Today’s World,” delivered by Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò, President of the Foundation sponsoring the festival, followed by remarks from Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi and Claudio Maria Celli, respectively the Presidents of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Council for Social Communications.