random thoughts & reviews
ALFREDO'S FIRE is a documentary film by Andy Abrahams Wilson of Open Eye Pictures.
ALFREDO'S FIRE is powerful and timely documentary that tells the forgotten story of Alfredo Ormando, a gay Italian writer who set himself on fire at the Vatican to protest the Church's condemnation of homosexuality.
Alfredo's story is heartbreaking and his determination to make a change is a story that needs to be told. On January 13, 1998 Alfredo Ormando, a 39-year old Italian writer, arrived in Rome just as the sun was rising. After a long journey from his native Sicily, he found his way to the empty plaza of St. Peter’s Square and, facing the entrance to the Basilica, knelt down as if to pray. He made a rapid hand gesture and suddenly was engulfed in flames. Before the Church and God, Alfredo Ormando had lit himself on fire.
At a time of upheaval in the Catholic Church, this new documentary film ALFREDO’S FIRE tells the forgotten story. Alfredo Ormando had hoped his 1998 protest would bring attention to the Church’s condemnation of homosexuality. But while some Italian activists have called his self-immolation the “Italian Stonewall,” little is known about the story–the man on fire, his motivations, and the repercussions that are coming to light now more than ever.
Conditioned by the teachings of his deeply held faith and by Sicilian values of honor and silence, Alfredo felt trapped in self-denial, hoping his writing would lift him. But after repeated rejections by publishers, his own family, and even a monastery where he desperately tried to repress his desire, Alfredo’s world turned increasingly dark. Shaped by his copious manuscripts and letters,
rich cinematography, and provocative interviews with those who knew him best, the film intimately reveals Alfredo’s longing and the archetypal struggle to reconcile faith and sexuality.
As the Catholic Church and other religious institutions grapple with internal scandals and changing social attitudes, ALFREDO’S FIRE is poised to contribute to the discussion around same-sex marriage, homosexual clergy, gay bullying, and more. At a historic moment when Pope Benedict XVI abdicates his papacy, this documentary becomes a testament for a more open and inclusive Church, with the hope that no more lives are extinguished by the effects of religious intolerance.
The film is helmed by Andy Abrahams WIlson, the director of the Oscar-shortlisted UNDER OUR SKIN and is expected to premiere in late spring.
Watch the video and learn more by visiting: www.alfredosfire.com
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