Catholic Film Festival Hails "Mirabile Visu"

Christians Called to Say - and See - Beautiful Things

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ROME, MAY 10, 2011 (Zenit.org).- An international Catholic film festival will be held this week in Rome, seeking to give visibility to the faith with the idea that art is a "weapon of evangelization."



At a press conference Monday, the second Mirabile Dictu International Catholic Film Festival was announced to begin Wednesday and run through May 21. The first was held in 2010.

"We, Christians, have this pressing need to say beautiful things, ‘mirabile dictu,’ and to see beautiful things, in this case, ‘mirabile visu’: hence, during this festival we will see very beautiful films," said Alberto Di Giglio, who contributed to organizing the program.

The seven-day event will honor films with categories including best film, best documentary, best leading actor/actress and best director.

"I created this festival because I love God, and this is a way of giving visibility to the faith and to transmit it to others," said film director Liana Marabini, the festival's founder and president.

Religious culture

Monsignor Franco Perazzolo, an official of the Pontifical Council for Culture and chair of the festival's panel of judges, compared film to Jesus' teaching techniques.

"Jesus used the language of the parable to make himself understood by the people. We, today, must find new parables to re-proclaim the important values," he said, "and this occasion of the festival, I believe, is an attempt through the movies -- both of the past and the future, thanks to new films of recently arrived directors -- of manifesting these fundamental values for any person, beyond their cultural, religious and faith membership."

Monsignor Perazzolo urged raising the level of our existence. "Otherwise," he said, "it becomes flat." Worse than failing to look to heaven in order to understand earth, we "forget that there is a heaven and thus we are not able to live on earth either."

Monsignor Marco Frisina, a biblicist and composer, spoke of the evangelizing potential of art.

"Art continues to be one of the most beautiful weapons of evangelization," he said, "because it leaves the listeners free to accept or not, but it has in itself a persuasion that goes directly to the heart."

"If it is true art, it is able to touch a nonbeliever's heart also, and to open it to the mystery that is being communicated," the monsignor reflected. "There is a natural predisposition to listen in art, and hence a capacity to make the messages we most love penetrate, which for us believers are those of the Gospel."

"Art is a flowering, a grace given by God and which comes out of man's heart: a very beautiful field in which to encounter and love all," he observed. "I think that our role as communicators is above all to give God to persons, because what is most lacking today is love. But what greater love can we have than that of God?"

Finalists

The finalists were announced at the press conference.

The festival's prize, "The Silver Fish," will be given to five winners. Actor Remo Girone will also be honored for lifetime achievement.

Among the finalists in the various categories are:

-- "Nine Days that Changed the World," which is about Blessed John Paul II.

-- "Duns Scoto," written and directed by Fernando Muraca based on a book about the medieval philosopher Blessed Duns Scotus by Father Stefano Maria Manelli.

-- "God's Mighty Servant," which tells the story of Sister Pascalina, a nun who served as housekeeper for Eugenio Pacelli and continued in his service when he became Pope Pius XII.

-- "Marcelino Pan y Vino," a remake of a film about the anti-Christian persecution in Mexico and the Cristeros who defended the faith.

-- "The Last Summit," a documentary on the the life of the Spanish priest, philosopher and theologian Pablo Domínguez, who died in 2009 at age 42 while descending from Moncayo, which has the highest peak of the mountain chain of the Iberian System.

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On the Net:

Mirabile Dictu: www.mirabiledictu-icff.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1&Itemid=1