Difficult to explain. Impossible not to try

Patricio Sánchez-Jáuregui-November 5, 2021-Reading time: 2 minutes
Image from the film Medjugorje.

Medjugorje, the film

Direction and script:: Jesús García Colomer and Borja Martínez-Echevarría
Spain : 2021

Medjugorje is a documentary film born from the desire of its directors to share an experience. On the one hand, difficult to explain and, on the other hand, impossible not to try. The encounter with God and the Virgin in a place far from the world, a small village in Bosnia Herzegovina. 

The film had as its seed an assignment that two journalists received in 2006. Together, they traveled to Medjugorje to investigate the alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary to six people in the 1980s. The assignment would change their lives, giving rise to the idea of creating an audiovisual document to try to explain why. 

The Medjugorje phenomenon was born from the testimony of six visionaries, four women and two men, who were between 10 and 16 years old when the Virgin Mary appeared to them. The film shows interviews with both the visionaries and with first-rate witnesses, including the Croatian Franciscan Friar Jozo Zovko, pastor of Medjugorje at the time of the apparitions and later imprisoned and tortured by the Yugoslavian communist regime; public figures such as María Vallejo-Nágera, Spanish intellectual and writer, and Tamara Falcó, celebrity Spanish media; and finally, simple people. 

The cinematography is simple and technically sober, but it is nevertheless a somewhat melodramatic work: the script tells more than shows, sometimes creating dichotomies that can sound pretentiously existential, which instead of bringing emotion, alienate us from the protagonist tandem. On the other hand, the musical accompaniment creates a somewhat contrived and sentimental atmosphere that tarnishes especially the beginning of the film, making it difficult to get involved in the story. All this contrasts with the sobriety and authenticity of most of the interviews, several of which lift the film completely and make it worth watching, and within which we can feel identified and moved. 

In short, Medjugorjeis a passionate project, difficult to digest at the beginning but more enjoyable and captivating as it moves away from the script and gives itself over to the testimonies of its interviewees: people whose varied social backgrounds make it certain that any audience can empathize and take home the treasure of that supernatural experience. 

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