Based on true events that occured in Portugal in 1917 that have since been the subject of changing folklore, how this faith based religious drama will be perceived will be based by the viewer’s own beliefs. For example Catholic Christians will welcome the story of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary with such open arms, where to any atheist this is just another beautifully filmed period drama.
The film tells the story of how a 10 year old shepherd girl Lúcia dos Santos (Stephanie Gil) and her two young cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto were out in the fields tending the sheep when they were first visited by an apparition. She told them that she had bought a message of peace, and made a point of telling the three of them to come back in the same place in exactly a month’s time when she would visit them again and tell them more.
The cousins agreed between themselves to keep this whole event to themselves, but one of them inevitably let it slip and it spread like wildfire around their tiny village of Fatima.
The was a particular rough time in Portugal’s history as it had just been changed into a Republic and its leaders were anti-clerical and at odds with the powerful Catholic Church. Now with a Civil War raging, once a week the citizens would turn in the Village square to hear the Mayor read out a roll call of all the local men who had been killed or were missing in action.
So against this uncertainty the stories of the Apparitions caused great concern, and was the only thing that sorted of united the new Governing Powers and the Church HIerarchy. They were both so opposed to them not just because the messages were all about peace but because it not only challenged their leadership but empowered the deeply religious population.
Most of the story is told in flashbacks by Lúcia now an elderly nun (Sônia Braga) secluded in a Convent and who is being visited by a history Professor (Harvey Keitel). She still retells the stories of her childhood visions in the exact same detail that the Authorities had continued to pressure her to recant.
Sister Lúcia recounts how after all the initial doubts that as word of their prophecy spreads, tens of thousands of religious pilgrims flock to the site to witness what became known as the Miracle of the Sun.
Directed by an award-winning cinematographer Marco Pontecorvo (hence the stunning visuals) from a script by Valerio D’Annunzio, and Barbara Nicolosi,Fatima is a entertaining film that will give great comfort to some people in these tough times.