A Film by Bernadette Wegenstein
Each year in the Italian city of Catania, on the east coast of Sicily, nearly a million people gather in the world’s third-largest Catholic celebration to pay homage to the city’s patron, Saint Agatha. Devoti Tutti looks at this celebration and the rituals that are involved in the cult of the saint through the eyes of those raised there, who are devoted to her spirit.
Devoti Tutti takes on the 2000-year old myth of Saint Agatha, telling the story of violence she endured in her own voice. It melds documentary with animation against the backdrop of present-day Catania, to weave a tale about finding the strength to set oneself free.
Interview with Atlas Obscura about Saint Agatha, her feast and cake here.
We Are All Devoted...
According to the Christian canon, Agatha’s “No” led Quinziano to imprison her for her disbelief in the polytheistic Roman Gods. She endured cruel torture and interrogation. Still, Agatha did not change her mind. During her trial, she provoked the Roman officials until they threatened to kill her by breast amputation. During the torture, Agatha said, “I feel joy in these pains.”
At the core of the film is the belief in Agatha's mythical story by the people of Catania, Bernadette the filmmaker, and some characters that are developed such as Angela, an impoverished mother of three and a survivor of sexual abuse. By juxtaposing Agatha's mythical story with the lives of real abuse survivors, Devoti Tutti shows how a community's reverence masks contemporary misogyny, and the consequences that abuse has on the minds and bodies of women living almost two thousand years later.