Film - The Sacred Spirit

The Sacred Spirit Logo, eye of Horus on a pyramid with a sun behind

With the film available to watch now via ARROW's streaming service, Steve Taylor-Bryant discovered The Sacred Spirit...

There is a fine line trodden in art and that is the one between fascination and discomfort, and some of the best films ever made tread that line often. Great filmmakers make their home on that line and the greats, the true auteurs that tread that line the finest, the likes of Wes Anderson and David Lynch, now have a new colleague in the shape of Chema García Ibarra.

José Manuel and the other members of the ufology association Ovni-Levante meet weekly to exchange information about extra-terrestrial messages and abductions. Julio, their leader, dies unexpectedly, leaving José Manuel as the only person who knows about the cosmic secret that could alter the human future. Meanwhile in Spain a search is going on for a little girl who disappeared some weeks before.

The Scared Spirit is an astonishing story that does indeed have the extra-terrestrial links that are mentioned above, but also flirts with spirituality, religion, and some of the worst crimes that could be committed and does it against the backdrop of Spanish town Elche, itself a spiritual and religious city that has its own storied past. Writing-wise the story is remarkably interesting, if not a little strange at first, and doesn’t judge the ufologists for their beliefs, neither does it judge the religious or the conspiratorial (and there is one lady spreading conspiracy theories throughout the film who is just delightful). 

I don't want to give any plot spoilers, so all I will say is the it takes the idea of belief and stretches how far you can go with that idea, before a film will delve into the unbelievable and, trust me, there are moments where The Sacred Spirit does become unbelievable before something happens that bounces you back into reality quick-sharp. The fantastic artistic choices are not limited to just the script either. There are visual camera choices, colour palette cinematography, and long lingering frames that add humour to some scenes or characters or add that uncomfortable feeling that is needed with certain elements in others.

The Scared Spirit, like an Anderson or Lynch film, is not for everyone and I am sure there are those out there reading this review wondering if we watched the same film and that is fine. You can find the light and the darkness, the seriousness and the humour, as it is all there, but certain plot points I understand can be hard to stomach. If you’d like a refreshing change to the norm though, if you’d like to experience a European filmmaker who we should all keep an eye out for in future, then The Scared Spirit is definitely worth a gamble. I found the visual and story elements interesting and wonderful and the acting sort of not acting at all, the performances had an almost documentary feel to them, so the entire project was, for me, an hour and a half well spent.

Follow Steve on Twitter @STBwrites

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