A Film on Our Lady of Fatima – The 13th Day (Review)

Fatima - 13th - day
A film about Fatima – The 13th Day

There is a truly staggering  – and relatively very recent – phenomenon within the history of the Church, which it seems to me is never given sufficient attention.

It is the 1917 Marian Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.

How I ask myself, can so many people ignore such an astonishingly well-documented miracle as that performed by Our Lady at Fatima – documented that is, with thousands upon thousands of eye-witness reports?!

How can one ignore a miracle predicted months beforehand, a miracle which tens of thousands turn out to see (or to mock) at an appointed time – on the 13th day of October 1917 – and on that appointed day are not disappointed (or instead are severely disabused of their mockery)?

How to ignore such a miracle when the secular Portugese Press writes mocking, satirical articles prior to the event and then the day after the event, is forced to report that indeed 70,000 people have witnessed a miracle?

For the Sun was seen to dance in the skies and change colours, before hurtling towards the earth …

And more, still more …

Until now, I have studied the Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima through books. The very extensive account in Donal Foley’s masterful book on Marian Apparitions has been particularly helpful to me in locating Fatima in the context of the other great Marian apparitions.

For that reason, I recommend Marian Apparitions most highly (as I have done in my review here).

But not everyone has time to read lengthy books.

It is with all this in mind, that I have been very pleased to discover The 13th day.

I will keep this review short and sweet.

The 13th Day is a very important film. If it did nothing more than tell this astounding story in a compact 85 minutes, that alone would be a real service to humanity in our troubled age.

However, it does far more than that. It is beautifully filmed on location in Portugal – and the Portugese actors give it a particularly authentic feel (though the movie is filmed in the English).

I found it a highly effective way to convey the essentials of the Fatima Apparitions …

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Now, some have complaints about the movie. On the one hand, I have heard Americans disliking its unusual black and white photography, complaining that it is too much like a European art film.

One the other hand, I have heard Europeans complain it is too much like Hollywood kitsch!

My own response lies somewhere in between.

The film is disserved by a soundtrack, with often overly-dramatic and jarring music that is kitschy at times, I am afraid to say.

On the other hand, I found a lot of the on-location Portugese photography really quite beautiful.

Still my main gratitude to the film is for what it can do to make the astonishing story of Our Lady of Fatima better known – as it desperately needs to be.

So while I find myself sometimes wanting to shout from the rooftops: go read Foley’s book, perhaps I should say instead: If you do not know about Fatima and if you have little time for reading detailed books, please consider watching this.

For here in 85 minutes, you can readily and easily acquaint yourself with the miracle that is Fatima …

And then ponder  – perhaps for the rest of your life – what that extraordinary miracle really means for humanity.

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