The World Will Soon Be Possessed By William Friedkin’s Exorcism Doc ‘The Devil And Father Amorth’
Originally released in 1973, The Exorcist has since gone on to be recognized as one of the greatest horror films of all time. It also jumpstarted the cultural fascination with the occult ritual of exorcism, an act still practiced by the Catholic Church — though not without rigorous screening. It was in seeking out just how accurately The Exorcist captured the authenticity of the act that director William Friedkin sought out the “Dean of Exorcists” last year.
Whether or not you believe the events of the film could actually happen, Friedkin’s documentary of that meeting with Father Gabriele Amorth, and the subsequent exorcism he performed, may shed more light on one of the clergy's most ancient practices now that it’s been picked up for distribution.
According to Deadline, LD Entertainment will distribute The Devil and Father Amorth, along with ICM Partners. The company worked with Friedkin on the 2011 film Killer Joe. The Devil and Father Amorth was shot in part while Friedkin was visiting Italy to speak with Father Amorth about exorcism. At the time of the visit, Father Amorth was engaged in performing yet another exorcism on an Italian woman named Rosa (her ninth exorcism in total). This was not the most Father Amorth had performed on a single person — one possessed soul had been under Amorth’s watch for 16 years — as exorcisms are viewed like visits with a therapist; one visit can hardly cure you of the demon inside.
A bit of what Friedkin witnessed was revealed in his lengthy feature for Vanity Fair last fall. In that piece, he describes the events of that ritual in grim detail, including Rosa’s fits of anger and lapses into Latin, a language she never knew until Father Amorth attempted casting out whatever was inside her. The entire recounting is something else, and you should definitely read it. Even as an agnostic, Friedkin is hard-pressed to not be taken aback by what he witnesses when in Father Amorth’s company, and then when he is alone with Rosa some time later.
In their last meeting, Rosa’s family asked Friedkin to turn over his footage so that the world would not be witness to Satan’s powers. Friedkin obviously refused, as his documentary was meant to be about Father Amorth and the ritual itself. Unfortunately, last fall Father Amorth passed away before even he could see the film. The Devil and Father Amorth does not have a release window as of yet, but is in post-production now.