The Gospel of Revolution
François-Xavier Drouet / 2023
The revolutionary fervour that gripped Latin America in the second half of the 20th century owes much to the participation of millions of Christians who were engaged in political struggle in the name of their faith.
Inspired by liberation theology, they opposed military regimes and oligarchies, sometimes risking their lives.
Against the idea of “religion as the opium of the people”, I meet women and men who believed in Revolution as a manifestation of the Kingdom of God, to be conquered on Earth rather than in Heaven.
Help us achieve the production of the first feature documentary dedicated to this fundamental movement for memory of social struggles: make a donation here on the page of our partner Proarti.
Context of this crowdfunding
No documentary has yet measured the historical importance of liberation theology. Resistance to military dictators, revolution in Nicaragua, insurrection in El Salvador, the fight of the Landless Workers’ Movement in Brazil, the Zapatista uprising in Mexico, the alter-globalisation movement; liberation theology has greatly inspired political struggle on the continent, from the 60s to the present day.
This movement has often been misunderstood or even caricatured. Now that its last great figures are reaching an advanced age, it is urgent to collect their memory.
This documentary retraces its heritage in the form of a feature film. Lasting about two hours, it is intended for release in cinemas. A 52-minute version for television is also planned.
Filming has already taken place in Brazil, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Mexico and France, between 2020 and 2022. Currently in the editing phase, we are launching a crowdfunding operation to finance post-production and the copyrights of the audiovisual archives and music, very expensive but essential to the film. We hope for a release in the last quarter of 2023.
A film for memory
Born in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, liberation theology proposed an emancipatory reading of the bible, the idea of a revolutionary Christ, the image of a Kingdom of God as a society of justice and equality. It’s also responsible for the most radical internal critique of the Church since the Reformation, incurring the wrath of Rome. The influence of liberation theory on popular movements has been major. But there’s a heavy toll to be paid for undermining the traditional relationship between Church and Power. Hundreds of priests, bishops, religious, seminarians and catechists have been murdered for siding with the people since the 1960s.
What is this trend of the Catholic and Protestant churches wanting to reconcile Marxism, Révolution and the Gospel? Why did it sometimes justify recourse to violence ? What was its influence on the political struggles in Latin America? How were its adherents targeted by military dictatorships and their American allies? How did the Vatican neutralize its influence? What kind of legacy does it leave to current and future social movements?
This is not a historical documentary in the traditional sense. I express myself in the first person, as an atheist who has long thought that religious faith was nothing but alienation. It is a journey made of encounters with characters whose lives have been intertwined with this movement. Whether they are famous theologians like Leonardo Boff or Frei Betto, or anonymous Christian militants.
It is a film about commitment, courage, and sometimes the contradictions between faith and political action. It is addressed to a wide audience, and in particular to all those who, believers or not, have not renounced the idea of justice.
Make a donation here on the page of our partner Proarti.
The author and director
François-Xavier Drouet, 43, lives on the Millevaches plateau. His films have been selected and awarded at many festivals in France and abroad. His latest feature, The Time of Forests, released in theaters in 2018, won the Critics' Week Grand Prize at the prestigious Locarno Festival.