Interview with Jaap van Heusden, director and screenwriter of the movie The Man from Rome, interviewer Edvinas Pukšta
"Before attending film school, van Heusden worked for several years in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, where, among other things, he created a film festival for local filmmakers, which after his departure became the biggest human rights film festival on the continent. As the son of a preacher, he has been surrounded by stories since childhood. At the age of eight, he broke his first Nikon camera.
At the age of twelve, he set his first novel on fire because it was just ""so bad"". In his youth, he was sure that he would become a major player in European politics. And now he writes and directs films about the most burning issues of today’s society. His films have competed in many different international film festivals. The Man from Rome is his fourth feature film, telling the story of a modern-day crusader, Father Filippo, who tries to save humanity from darkness. When Filippo arrives in a small Dutch village, he has a definite motive, to expose the myth of the Crying Madonna, but his motives are tested. He is attracted to and hypnotized by a mute young woman from the village. Although Filippo's burning gaze is directed mostly towards the Madonna, he doubts in his heart what is right and wrong.
The screenplay is based on a real-life miracle in the Netherlands, that a Vatican´s investigator tried to verify or deny in the end of the century. Van Heusden decided to write a film on the subject after visiting Lourdes and it’s healing spring. He was shocked by the commercial use of the miracle but moved by the sincerity of the pilgrims.
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