Many people are familiar with the iconic 1973 film "The Exorcist," in which actors Max von Sydow and Jason Miller team up to turn the tables on a truly terrifying case of demonic possession. But a new documentary casts light on the real-life ritual through the eyes of a Vatican-approved exorcist.
"The Exorcist in the 21st Century" follows José Antonio Fortea -- a Roman Catholic priest in Spain who is one of the few exorcists sanctioned by the Vatican -- as he travels the world enlightening the faithful about demonic possession.
In the film, Fortea, a prolific writer who has penned several books on demonology, speaks floridly about the elaborate ritual.
"Exorcism is a fight between all the forces of light against all the forces of demons," he says, "[...] a battle with the weapons of prayer."
According to filmmaker Fredrik Horn Akselsen, who was reached by The Huffington Post via e-mail, the trailer for the film shows a Peruvian priest (not Fortea) performing an exorcism on a Colombian woman who claims to have been possessed by demons since 1997.
While it is not apparent from the trailer, Akselsen told HuffPost the film takes "considerable time to express a skeptical view." This includes interviews with a skeptic within the Catholic church, as well as a psychiatrist who treated the allegedly possessed woman.
Akselsen said the documentary focuses on Fortea's fame as an exorcist, and documents peoples' reactions to his celebration of "liberation massess," among other things.
The film's intent does not appear to be either to validate or discredit exorcism, but rather to capture the powerful impact that faith has on people. In this sense, Akselsen's film has more in common with a documentary like "Jesus Camp" than it does with various exorcism mockumentaries that have been released in recent years, such as "The Last Exorcism" (2010) and "The Devil Inside" (2012).
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