A Quick Home Movies on the Interwebs hit: Doctors of the Dark Side and The Exorcist in the 21st Century

May 27, 2013

We’re going to try a little diffeent format with the BDA DVD column — now that Karen Martin is back writing her Home Movies column in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette‘s MovieStyle section, I’ll probably be a little more selective about what we feature here. Also I’m dropping the numerical grades. I don’t like them and I don’t have to use them. (We dropped them for the newspaper edition as well.) You can assume that any movies we write about in this space we consider, to some degree, interesting.

Our first two entries under the new rubric are films that played at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival.

Martha Davis’ sobering and Doctors of the Dark Side examines the complicity of the medical profession in the torture of detained terror suspects during the Bush administration torture detainees. Written by Oscar-winning documentarian Mark Jonathan Harris — Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000) and The Long Way Home (1997) — and narrated by Mercedes Ruehl, the film is highly critical of a doctors and psychologists involved with so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniquesat Guantanamo Bay and other American detention sites. Medical professionals with the Bush administration’s “no blood, no foul” policy which allowed extreme physical and psychological stress methods to be used if medical professionals were on-site and their methods did not cause “severe pain.”

The Exorcist in the 21st Century is a beautifully photographed Norwegian documentary that chronicles the life and work of one of a very few Vatican-approved exorcists in Europe, Father José Antonio Fortea of Spain. Fortea, a writer who has written books on demons and exorcism manuals, travels the world to lecture on, consult with and, occasionally, perform rites on the putatively demonically possessed. The film focuses on his dealing with Constanza, a Colombian woman, who claims to have been possessed for 15 yearsaznd considers Forteas her last hope.It would make a fine double feature with Cristian Mungiu’s Beyond the Hills.

He travels around the world on a mission to enlighten the masses about demonic possession. Constanza, a Colombian woman, is desperately looking for Fr. Forteas help. She claims to have been possessed by demons for nearly 15 years and she goes through a ritual of exorcism before she sees the Spanish exorcist as a last hope for spiritual liberation. The film follows both their journeys and gives a unique insight into one of the world most secret and mystical rites – the catholic ritual of exorcism.

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