This meaningful and challenging movie brings to life the well-known story of the miracles of 1917 in the town of Fátima, Portugal. From the beautiful rural scenery, to the stunning soundtrack – performed by Andrea Bocelli – the film is full of sentiment and artistry. Not to mention, big questions that nudge us to assess our own faith.
On October 13th , around 70,000 people witnessed ‘The Miracle Of The Sun’ after an alleged series of miraculous appearances of Mary, the mother of Jesus, to ten-year-old Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto. The account of these visitations from Mary, in the rural town of Fátima, is of great importance to many around the world, and of course those from the town itself.Renowned opera singer, Andrea Bocelli, who has recorded the soundtrack explained: “Of course, it is not the first time I have collaborated on a movie soundtrack, however, this project is different because the movie is close to my heart and it presents a message that I have always tried to carry out in my singing as well. I have only had the opportunity to visit this holy place once, but it left a profound impression on me clearly because I have known about the events connected to Fatima since I was a boy. So, finding myself there again, this time to sing, was a very intense experience.”
Director, Marco Pontecorvo helps to bring alive the intensity of this ‘Holy Ground’ and the passion (both good and bad) of believers and a community in need of hope. He explains: “The message is really important – it is a message of peace and it makes you think about your relationship with what is transcendent, your spirituality, doubt.” The movie also reminds us of three important concepts: devotion to prayer, child-like faith and the power of testimony.
Devotion to prayer
Throughout the movie, we can see a devotion to, and an expectation of prayer – two elements of prayer life that we can miss in the busyness of our lives! How often do we, firstly, devote ourselves to prayer and secondly, expect amazing things from it? Through the life of Maria, Lucia’s mother, we connect with her prayer of desperate longing to faithfully serve God and to see her son return from war. When watching Lucia and her friends, we see a willingness to stand firm, sacrifice and create a discipline of daily prayer – even when others don’t see it as important. And with those who travelled to and gathered at Fatima, we see the hope and faith that builds when praying together in unity.
Lúcia Moniz (Love, Actually) plays the sceptical mother of Lucia (Stephanie Gil – Terminator: Dark Fate) in the movie.
The faith of children
One golden thread that runs through the entire story, is the faith of children. As they try to explain what they have seen, we see the secularist government officials and Catholic Church leaders try to force the children to recant their story, but as they stand-firm, many flock to the site in hopes of witnessing a miracle. Many of the characters within the movie, are sceptical about the apparitions of the ‘Holy Lady’ (Mary the mother of Jesus) and we too may feel sceptical! However, as with those characters, one thing cannot be disputed: child-like faith is a powerful force. In fact, their faith proved catching, as it brought thousands of adults together to experience this miracle. We see the dedication of Lúcia to pursue God and the miracles He is able to show us. The children put their meetings with Mary above all other expectations that people had of them. Can we say the same of our pursuit of God? Are we confident in the willingness of God to speak to and connect with children and those with faith like children?
Politics and faith get in the way of a peaceful community as politician Artur (Goran Višnjić – Beginners) and Priest, Father Ferreira (Joaquim de Almeida – Queen of the South) disagree on things.
The experience of shared testimony
The movie is a great example of how much more we can explore and enjoy our faith, when sharing it with others. In many scenes throughout the film, we are reminded of the powerful nature of families, friendships and local communities to bring about God’s will and to be an example of His character. Some of the most heart-warming moments in the movie are when those who are desperate and hopeful kneel in faith and commune with God. We can see the shared pain of a community impacted by war, and the shared joy of a community brought together by faith. And this legacy continues…
The richness of this story has been carried in the hearts of millions of people to this day. The sanctuary of Fátima, built on the site of the miracles, is visited by four to six million visitors annually. People flock to see the beautiful architecture and artwork that narrates the experience of Lúcia and her cousins, built into and painted on to this impressive, and fourth largest Catholic Church in the world.
Watch Fátima in cinemas from July, and on digital platforms – find out more at: www.fatimafilm.co.uk.