If you look at any representations of Jesus in Europe, Australia, America and most of the developed world, you might be mildly puzzled by the fact the son of God is normally white with long hair and a beard. Given he would have been a Palestinian Jewish man living in Galilee, which on today’s map would be located in northern Israel, he would have looked very different. The icon we often see in churches didn’t become popular until several hundred years after his ‘death’.
Siculiana is a village on the west coast of Sicily. In many ways it’s wholly unremarkable. Like much of the other communities on the Mediterranean island, poverty is rife, jobs are scarce and the main political talking point is immigration. Indeed, Villa Sikania has been converted into a refugee reception centre. This is not popular with many of the locals, who are very traditional and religious. Which is strange really given they worship a crucifix holding a black Jesus.
A Black Jesus, the new documentary from Luca Lucchesi, focuses on this contradiction at the heart of local life. How the good citizens can on the one hand worship a black figure yet also be prejudiced and racist towards migrants arriving from Africa. The story is told from both the perspective of young refugees and those within the community, providing an interesting counterpoint. A Black Jesus is a film about tolerance and understanding, and above all, listening.
A Black Jesus screens at CPH:DOX.