Blind Christ: Christopher Murray’s Film at 2016 Venice Film Fest

The first look at the poster of the film which Venice Fest director Alberto Barbera singled out as “the big discovery” of this year’s event: El cristo ciego (The Blind Christ), from Chile’s Christopher Murray.

The Blind Christ is not Murray’s first feature: he had co-directed with Pablo Carrera Manuel de Ribera, a spectacular fable of a man who wants to develop an island he’s inherited.

Shifting the setting from“Manuel de Ribera’s Chilean archipelago to the dirt-poor desert of Chile’s North, The Blind Christ begins with a villager, Michael who, believing he is a Christ, sets out on a barefoot pilgrimage across the desert to perform his first miracle, curing a dying friend.

“The voyage will traverse the desperation of a society in need of faith,” the production notes read.

“It’s a surprising debut, influenced by Pasolini but with a marvelous expressive strength of its own,” Barbera said. “Murray’s talent for image composition is striking and the film’s narrative quality is one like we’ve never seen. He is an auteur and everyone will see it.”


‘The Blind Christ’ is ‘the big discovery’ of Venice

Developed at Cannes’ Cinefondation, the Torino Film Lab and Rotterdam’s Cinemart and produced by Jirafa’s Augusto Matte and Thierry Lenouvel at CineSud Promotion, The Blind Christ also offers a way into the social realities of Chile’s North, Murray himself argues.

The Blind Chist is “a unique story about a young man trying to overcome a harsh reality through the use of a miracle and about the way in which communities are able to find meaning through his journey,” according to Murray.

He continued: “In pondering faith, we can uncover the social conflicts that have historically plagued us as a country and society,” in the case of Chile’s north its impoverishment at the hands of multinational companies which have ravaged its natural resources.

“In order to penetrate the country’s conflict,” all the actors are real locals who share their stories in the film, Murray said. Cast’s only professional is lead Michael Silva, best known to Chileans as a star  of TV series “Sudamerican Rockers.” As “The Blind Christ’s” poster suggests, however, Silva has both the mien of a biblical character and  a sense of strong humanity. Poster’s log-line, “Let me tell you a story,” hints at the power of storytelling as a central theme of the film.

The Blind Christ will be one of two Chilean films in competition on this year’s Lido.  Pablo Larrain’s Natalie Portman-starrer Jackie is the other one.  .