Based on a true story, Father Suarez The Healing Priest has our attention
When the pandemic started to make its way across oceans and countries, many of our favorite pastime activities closed shop: malls, coffee houses, bars and movie theaters. Not sure about you guys, but this time of the year makes me particularly sad that I can’t buy a ticket and watch something on the big screen.
But hey, MMFF 2020 is still a-go and the tradition lives thanks to UPSTREAM, in partnership with GMovies. And right now, our eyes are on Father Suarez The Healing Priest.
Starring John Arcilla as the titular character, Father Suarez The Healing Priest, focuses on the life of—you guessed it—Fernando Suarez. He discovered his gift of healing during the latter part of his teen years, which he kept hidden for years until he became a priest. It was then that he started to find himself in the middle of scandals and arguments with the Catholic Church.
This is when the film really starts to fill in: we meet the characters who beg for Suarez’s blessing, those who doubt him, the people that believe in him and those that think it’s all a big show. And through it all, we see Suarez go through the motions of all these external factors and, of course, his own internal struggles with his gift.
But are we going to watch it?
There are three main reasons why I want to watch this film, the first of which is the cast. John Arcilla has wowed people the world over with his acting chops and just a glimpse of Father Suarez The Healing Priest is enough to catch our attention. Plus, he’s supported by equally talented actors, such as Troy Montero, Alice Dixson, Dante Rivero, Jin Macapagal, Marlo Mortel and Jairus Aquino.
The second reason why I want to catch it is because of the storyline. In a country like the Philippines, there just isn’t enough content on the other side of the religious world—even if we know they happen. It gives us a look inside; on what happens when leaders clash because of their beliefs and ideologies. The story of healing itself questions what we understand about the capabilities of us mortals. And besides, who doesn’t love a good scandal?
And the third? Arcilla’s claims that he himself was healed by Father Suarez. He says, “more on emotional ‘yung nagawang healing sa akin ni Father Suarez. He touched my head and prayed. After that, gumaan ‘yung pakiramdam ko. Umaliwalas. That was the time na may mga problema kami sa family. At totoong may miracle. Naging okay ang family ko. ‘Yung healing hindi lang talaga sa physical ‘yan.” (Father Suarez’s healing was more emotional for me. He touched my head and prayed. After that, everything lightened up. That was the time we had some problems within the family. And it's true that there's a miracle, my family became okay. Healing really isn’t just physical.)
He continues: “Ngayong may pandemya, ibibigay sa atin ng pelikula ‘yung nawalang paniniwala natin. Hahaplusin tayo ni Father Suarez through our film, kahit wala na s'ya.” (Now that we’re in a pandemic, the movie will give us back the belief that we lost. Father Suarez will touch us through the movie, even if he himself is gone.)
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There are so many more films to catch at this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival. But excuse is if we put Father Suarez The Healing Priest at the top of our list this year.
Catch Father Suarez The Healing Priest and the rest of the MMFF 2020 entries on UPSTREAM.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver