Marco Biscarini, Luca Leprotti
The film is the story of Biagio’s personal journey to becoming a righteous man. “People were dying on the street, there was fear in their faces and in everything, and the only God was money...”. So Biagio leaves Palermo and lives in the mountains as a hermit, in perfect solitude. Here he is reconciled to himself and with nature. He starts to seek God and finds Him through St. Francis. Biagio returns to Palermo and stops at the train station, to take care of the homeless, feeding them, dressing them, healing them, calling them “brothers”. A new journey begins. He occupies an abandoned building and founds the Mission of Hope and Charity, to an outpouring of solidarity. The mission grows and so does the number of its residents.
Several years ago, when I went to Corleone to film Placido Rizzotto, I met Brother Paolo, a Franciscan friar who lived in the hermitage at the top of the city. Brother Paolo is pure of heart, a saint, practically (he’s a missionary in Africa today), yet when he told me about Biagio his face lit up. “He has attained innocence and the warmth of faith. He’s closer to God than any man I know,” he said. Unfortunately, I myself don’t possess the gift of faith and find it hard to believe in certain things. But when I met Biagio afterwards, I understood what Brother Paolo was trying to tell me. The time I spent with Biagio changed my life. By this I mean that I finally understood that the “sorrow of the offended world” is no abstract literary concept, but real flesh and blood that nourishes life, and art can’t do without it. At first, Biagio was against my making this film; inside, he was afraid of committing the sin of pride, but he came around in the end and told me: “If it is God’s will, you’ll make this film!”