Coming to theatres and at home On-Demand from director Marco Pontecorvo and Picturehouse is the story of three children holding their belief in FATIMA.
Professor Nichols (Harvey Keitel) arrives at the convent to meet Sister Lucia dos Santos (Sonia Braga), a woman with a story to tell. It is an incident that happened, and Nichols is skeptical.
In a small town of Fatima in Portugal, it is 1917 and World War I is having an effect on the parents of soldiers. Mayor Artur (Goran Visnijic) spends some mornings reading off the names in the town square of those who will not be coming home.
The Santos family is also waiting to hear what has happened to their eldest son. Young shepherds Lucia (Stephanie Gil) and cousins Francisco (Jorge Lamelas) and Jacinta (Alejandra Howard) find comfort in the time they spend together in the mountains. One day while together, the three children see a lovely woman who speaks to them. Lucia and Jacinta are captivated but Francisco is unable to hear her but can see her.
Going home, it is not long before Lucia’s parents are upset to learn from Francisco what happened on the mountain. Believing that they are making it up, Lucia tells them that the Blessed Virgin wants everyone to pray to bring peace to a suffering world. Mother is not the only one that is upset as the Mayor, secular government and the Catholic Church.
Again, and again the children are put in situations to scare them into recanting their story. Especially when people begin to show up in droves to the town of Fatima wanting to see the children and hope for a miracle. The children are told to return again and again as Lucia sees more and more of what the future holds.
Until the Miracle of the Sun!
Braga as Sister Lucia has a sense of humor but does not seem to suffer fools. She is very straight forward with the story of what happened as a child and Braga gives her character an endearing sense of peace. Keitel as Nichols comes in ready to tear Sister Lucia apart because of his own lack of believing what he cannot see. The thing about Keitel is that he does not back down with any role he plays and trust he isn’t going to do it with this one either! Well done to both actors.
Gil as Lucia is a young girl who knows that what she has seen is not going to be believed yet holds fast to what the lady on the mountain tells her. She believes and nothing is going to change that, even the chance to have the chaos stop. Gil brings a young girls’ insecurities and sadness in this bold performance. Howard as Jacinta has a destiny but that doesn’t deter her from holding onto the beauty she experiences with cousin Luisa.
Visnjic as Artur is a Mayor who wants to keep his job more than believing the three children of his town. He is not the first leader to care more about his title than the people he represents. Lamelas as Francisco is a young boy who trust cousins Lucia and Jacinta and even if he can’t hear, he trusts and opens his heart to what is possible.
Almeida as Father Ferreira takes his time but slowly begins to understand what is actually happening in Fatima and does what he can for the children. Ribeiro as Mary gives the ethereal performance providing the children with knowledge that is powerful and sad at the same time.
Other cast includes Joaquim de Almeida as Father Ferreira, Joao Arrais as Manuel Santos, Lucia Moniz as Maria Rosa, Marco d’Almeida as Antonio and Joana Ribeiro as the Virgin Mary.
PICTUREHOUSE, founded in 2005, has released films including Nimrod Antal’s METALLICA Through the Never, Adam Wingard’s THE GUEST starring Dan Steven, Robert Altman’s A PRAIRE HOME COMPANION and one of my personal favorites Guillermo del Toro’s PAN’S LABYRINTH. FATIMA is their latest release and for more of what they have to offer please visit www.picturehouse.com.
Director Pontecorvo has worked on such films as THE HOUSE IN UMBRIA, THE LAST LEGION and LETTERS TO JULIET. Also works on some of my favorite shows including the 2005 series ROME and, of course GAME OF THRONES.
Growing up I was, and still am, a fan of black and white films. My first introduction was the 1943 film SONG OF BERNADETTE which I still watch to this day. Jennifer Jones is Bernadette, a lovely young girl who sees a woman with roses on her feet setting the town Lourdes town in 1858 on edge. She was constantly harassed as many attempted to make her out as a liar or crazy. She would prove them all wrong.
Here we are in 2020 and another such film as SONG OF BERNADETTE brings hope, love and the strength of believe in the 1917 story of FATIMA. Now, three young children are in the middle of war when they also see a beautiful lady who speaks to them and shares with Lucia what the future holds. Once again, they are pit up against those who would rather trod over the children rather than believe in something greater than themselves.
That is a marvelous thing in these times, a story that reminds us all of what brightness can shine out of the darkness. The story isn’t a spectacle – yet it absolutely is because of the simplicity of the story Sister Lucia tells Professor Nichols. She does not waiver, she smiles when put to task and has a sense of humor that made me chuckle. That is a Sister I want to be around!
The children are so lovely in their portrayal as Lucia, Fernando and Jacinta because they gave their characters realism, an endearing child innocence and a strength that gave their performance believability. That is what makes FATIMA worth every moment of watching.
In the end – people need hope and they received a miracle!