Saturday, March 29

FeaturesSpecial Events ArchiveBoston Underground Film Festival 2014

American Jesus

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New England Premiere!

2013, Spain, 80 min.
Director Aram Garriga
Screenwriter Aram Garriga & Xavi Prat
Cast Keenan Smith, Mara Einstein, Mickey Stonier

American Jesus is an exploration of Christianity in every faction of American life, from the humble rural churches of Pentecostal snake handlers to the megachurches in the exurbs.

No matter your personal spiritual, religious, or lack-thereof leanings, if you live in America, your life is touched, shaped, and influenced by the Christian fire and brimstone that burns at its core; and if you live anywhere else in the world, you still feel the heat.

If our country were likened to a great tapestry, all the appliques, bargello, crewels, and adornments that comprise our social fabric would be unified by a simple thread that both unites and divides: religious freedom. American Jesus examines our country’s undulating arras, focusing on the threadbare, the flourishes, the eccentric Schrödingerian weaves and knots of our unusual inner life, poignantly holding up faith in all its sunny, hopeful, dynamism alongside its craven, materialistic, agenda-driven underbelly. Idealism and avarice, the virginal and the whorish; we get a glimpse of how the dark side of faith can render the religious witness collateral damage when its gods are power and money. On the flip side, we also see compassion, social justice, and community at work for the greater good.

Barcelona-native Aram Garriga makes a pilgrimage across America, conversing and consorting with Christ-loving bikers, street ministers, surfers, cowboys, and cage-fighters, exploring the wide spectrum of convictions, idiosyncrasies, and subcultures that populate this–to-many–parallel universe. It’s his outsider’s perspective that elevates him to a latter-day Alexis de Tocqueville as he studies America’s inclinations, character, prejudices and passions through its own preoccupation with, and entrapment within, the shimmering maze of materialistic determinism.

Garriga’s gorgeously shot tableaux neither disparages nor mocks as it explores the paradoxical relationship between faith, politics, and the individual needs at odds with those of the collective’s in a world utterly foreign to the uninitiated. There is something to love and something to hate for both the secular and religious subset alike, and it’s perhaps that ingenious balance that makes this film one of the most important, honest, thought-provoking portraits of American society to date. Challenging and illuminating, this is bold, vanguard filmmaking at its finest.

— Nicole McControversy

Click a showtime to purchase tickets:

  • Saturday, March 29 at 7:00 PM

Tickets $10, $8 Brattle Members. Brattle passes not accepted for festival screenings.