VENICE, Sept 2 Chilean director Christopher
Murray cast people from a local community and included their
real life stories in "El Cristo Ciego", aiming to add more truth
to the drama about faith and exploitation in Chile premiering at
the Venice film festival.
The drama (The Blind Christ), one of 20 U.S. and
international films vying for the Golden Lion trophy that will
be awarded on Sept. 10, follows the story of a young man, played
by Michael Silva, who sets off on a barefoot pilgrimage through
the desert to cure a friend with a miracle.
Silva is the only professional actor starring in the movie,
with all others chosen from the community where it was shot.
"When you work with someone that has lived the real
experience, there is a truth there that you can't replicate,"
Murray told a press conference on Friday ahead of the screening.
He said the dialogue and parables recounted in the movie -
including that of a hitman who goes to jail and then finds love
when he is out - are based on true stories and are acted by the
people who lived those experiences.
The film was shot in Pampa del Tamarugal, Chile's most
religious area, but also where mineral resources have been
exploited by companies without giving back to the community.
"We are talking about a place where there is lots of wealth
but the people don't benefit," Murray said, adding that rather
than making a political film, he chose to convey his message
through people's intimate stories.
(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Mark Potter)