ROME • William Friedkin, director of the 1973 traditional movie The Exorcist, is coping with the satan once more, however don’t anticipate extra twisting heads, levitating beds or spurts of inexperienced vomit.
That was fiction. This time, it’s the actual factor, with no particular results, however it’s nonetheless harrowing.
Friedkin has made an hour-long documentary known as The Devil And Father Amorth about maybe the world’s most well-known exorcist, Gabriele Amorth, an Italian priest who died in 2016 on the age of 91.
“Some people will see this and be sceptical. I’m not a sceptic,” Friedkin, 83, stated in a phone interview forward of the release of the documentary in New York and Los Angeles on Friday.
He struck up a friendship with Amorth, a disarmingly jovial man regardless of his critical work.
“We had hours of conversations about religious matters, the New Testament and about the case he was working on,” stated Friedkin, who was raised in a Jewish household in Chicago.
“I found him to be the most spiritual man I ever met.”
On May 1, 2016, about 4 months earlier than Amorth died, he allowed Friedkin to look at an exorcism of a 46-year-old Italian girl, provided that he did it with out a crew, used solely a small digicam and didn’t intrude with the ceremony.
It takes up the majority of the documentary, which additionally contains interviews with psychologists.
“My terror of what I was witnessing turned into empathy for the pain she was experiencing,” Friedkin stated.
The footage reveals the girl being held down by Amorth’s assistants. She writhes and shouts in a raspy voice that’s not hers. Amorth, who had a cult-like following in Italy, performs the ceremony in Latin and Italian as others, often known as “auxiliary exorcists”, give him prayerful assist within the room.
“I witnessed a complete transformation of personality and a woman who had strength way beyond her physical capabilities at the age of 46 and she had a complete transformation of the way she spoke and sounded,” Friedkin stated.
“I can’t tell you I wasn’t frightened. I was two feet away from them and it was harrowing, even though I knew what to expect because (Amorth) had told me.”
The Exorcist was based mostly on William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel of the identical title. A piece of fiction, it was impressed by a newspaper article Blatty had learn when he was a pupil at Georgetown University in Washington. In the film, Linda Blair performs a 12-year-old lady who is possessed. In considered one of his books, Amorth stated the movie’s particular results have been “over the top”, however he was grateful for the eye it drew to the issue.
Friedkin stated of his documentary: “Just because we don’t know or understand something does not mean that it doesn’t exist. I was able to see this and made a record of it – now people should be able to see it and judge for themselves.”