Written by Kit Densley on September 9, 2020
Fatima – A film about hope we all need right now (and always)
Although the concept of Marco Pontecorvo’s retelling of the true story of Fatima is simple, impressive cinematography and direction make it a must-watch for people of all beliefs, particularly during this season of uncertainty and fear.
Fatima recalls the story of Lucia dos Santos (Stephanie Gil – Terminator: Dark Fate) and her cousins Jacinta (Alejandra Howard) and Francisco Marto (Jorge Lamelas), who experience apparitions from the Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal, and use her messages to inspire their country, and the world, during the crux of World War 1. The children experience torment and ridicule by the Catholic Church and secular Government, as well as their families, after telling of their encounter with the Mother of God, yet also attract a following of faithful pilgrims who yearn to also witness the future apparitions Mary has promised. The film is shot from the perspective of an older Sister Jacinta, who is recounting her experiences to non-believing and cynical author Professor Nichols, in the 1980s.
For me, the key message in this film stems from the essence of innocence and trust in God amongst these children, giving rise to Matthew 19: 14: ‘Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”’ Despite shame and judgement, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco hold fast to the hope of God’s promise, and can inspire all of us to continue to see God even during the darkest of days.
When I was asked to watch and review Marco Pontecorvo’s Fatima, I was excited but soon realised – much to the disappointment of my devout Catholic upbringing – that I actually knew very little about the story of Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, the three young Portuguese shepherds who experienced apparitions from the Virgin Mary and used her message to change the world.
Despite my little knowledge of the story of Fatima, the name to me was synonymous with hope, peace and love, and these are the exact emotions I walked away with after watching the film; timely given the nature of Australia’s recession, and the uncertainty and fear the past six months or so have brought.
While many Christians have expressed their disappointment in the lack of authenticity in the re-telling of the story’s key events, I admired Pontecorvo’s approach to ensure the film remained engaging for all – Christians and non-Christians alike. While some scenes appeared too lengthy and made it seem as though time was standing still, Pontecorvo did focus on keeping the story simple, and this ensured the overall message could be attained.
Regardless of an interest in faith, anyone can enjoy this film through its cinematography (by Vincenzo Carpineta), shot in stunning Portugal and creating a backdrop of World War 1, and music loverss will appreciate Andrea Bocelli’s input in the Fatima soundtrack. Note: Don’t dismiss the closing credits!
At present, Fatima has received 6.4/10 stars on IMDb (Internet Movie Database) and a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Regardless of the details of its story, Fatima focusses on hope and trust despite adversity and is something we can all relate to and draw strength from, not only in the midst of this pandemic, but always.
6.5/10 – Maz