Deliver Us (" Libera Nos")

Quebec Premiere
  • Italy
  • 2016
  • 90 mins
  • Italian
  • English (subtitles)
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WINNER: Orizzonti Award for Best Film, Venice International Film Festival 2016
Official Selection: Hot Docs 2017, Open Roads 2017

"Revelatory, absurd, thought-provoking and moving” - Sarah Ward, SCREEN DAILY

“Chilling… An uncomfortable film to watch” - Jay Weissberg, VARIETY

As he casually sprinkles holy water on a woman, an Italian priest goes on about what seems to be a typical ritual. Quiet at first, she shivers a little. The second he lays his hand on her head she bursts in a sudden unnatural cry, shrieking as if she was burning. Her voice resonates on the cold church's walls. “Leave me alone, you bastard! She's mine!” Her high-pitched tone switches at times into something more guttural. Her inner demon is revealing itself. The priest remains calm. He has performed this kind of uneventful exorcism many times before.

Frederica Di Giacomo is the first director to look into the fascinating practice of real-life exorcism in Italy. Without demystifying it, she places it in an everyday context. She follows very closely several subjects at their most vulnerable state, at times acting out, at others genuinely losing their minds. Di Giacomo’s camera is respectful, and with a natural light, she paints these portraits with sincerity. Some have insignificant problems, others carry a lifetime of abuse, and all are drawn to a religious cure that looks like it could harm them even further.

Where can the line between mental illness and supernatural horror be drawn? Are these self-possessions, the church’s mind-games to best control their followers, or a demon from beyond? Like JESUS CAMP, DELIVER US reveals the true horror of twisted faith pushed to the extreme and furthermore explores the duality between ancient traditions and modern depression. Friedkin’s infamous THE EXORCIST is fiction, DELIVER US is real and stranger indeed.

- Celia Pouzet

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