Flesh, Wax & Glass
16mm to digital, 25 mins, colour, sound, 2023 (forthcoming)
'In the towns of Nocera Terinese and Verbicaro
In Calabria, Southern Italy
an ancient flagellant ritual
is still practiced.
Its practitioners are called Vattienti or Battienti.
They give their blood as a votive offering to the Madonna Dolorosa,
'Our Lady of the Sorrows'.
It was famously, somewhat sensationally portrayed in Mondo Cane (1962),
other films have also covered the topic.
Rather than offering a factual account
this is an attempt at a tender, personal perspective
on an encounter with one of the Vattienti, Saturno Maione
a lorry driver by trade
and a document of what would turn out to be his 33rd and final procession.
I was touched by Saturno, who seemed to be privy to a secret.
Perhaps that life is a kind of beautiful joke, laid down by god,
a frail traveling coincidence; ready to be loosed with all the power
that being changed can give.'