Blu-ray Review: The Sacred Spirit (Limited Edition)



Over a decade ago, I found myself a field producer for a segment on America’s Most Wanted. A teenage girl had run off with a guy who had a criminal record. The FBI had become involved since they sensed they’d gone over state lines. It was interesting for that day to find myself in the middle of seeing what happens when a child vanishes, and the family left at home has to deal with getting the message out. The teenager’s grandmother felt more comfortable talking about it than being quiet and letting her anxieties build up. I found myself looking at the girl’s room as we shot footage trying to find clues where she and her abductor were destined to visit. There was a lot of talk about potential places, but nobody suggested alien abduction like they do in The Sacred Spirit.

Charo (Joanna Valverde) has a horrifying nightmare occur when one of her twin daughters vanishes without a trace. She does her best to keep the media’s attention on her kid even after twenty-five days. When she is on the news, she dresses her remaining daughter Verónica (Llum Arqués) in the same outfit as when Vanessa went missing to give people a clue of what to see. “Can Vanessa stand up and give us a twirl” as if this is a back-to-school fashion segment. And how she has already replaced the children. Charo’s brother José (Nacho Fernández) has his own theory of what happened to his niece. He works at a Pyramid themed restaurant and believes she might have been abducted. He’s part of a UFO group that keeps track of people that might have been kidnapped by E.T. He feels that the key to finding the missing twin lurks in the stars.

The film has a deliberate pacing that doesn’t overplay itself with over overly dramatic emotional moments. There’s a lot of strangeness on the screen including a shot of the UFO obsessed people seal themselves in glowing pyramids in the desert as if calling to be picked up. This is like Close Encounters of the Third Kind as done by John Waters. At the end of the film, all is revealed with the same deadpan tone. This increases the disturbing nature of it all. Writer-director Chema Garcia Ibarra sticks the landing in a way that you can imagine a stunned art house audience sitting silently through the end credits and just quietly shuffling down the aisle as the house lights are raised. It’s not merely finding out what’s going on, but how it’s delivered that makes The Sacred Spirit a cinematic masterpiece.

As far as how my segment for America’s Most Wanted went, when we went to get footage of the Amber Alert on a highway sign, there was no message. We made a call to the authorities and discovered she had been found as her abductor dropped her off. I dropped the videotapes off at FedEx and before they got to the post-production studios, the abductor had been arrested. My segment never made it to broadcast. I felt a great sense of relief since I was bumped for a good reason.

The video is 1.66:1 anamorphic. The image brings out the odd elements of the Pyramid themed cafe. The audio is Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio. A second LCPM 2.0 Mix brings the sound up front. There is not an English dub. The movie is subtitled in English.

Booklet features an essay by Shelagh Rowan-Legg, author of The Spanish Fantastic: Contemporary Filmmaking in Horror, Fantasy, and Sci-fi.

Fold-out poster featuring original artwork.

Beyond the Eye of Horus (16:53) deals with surveillance and Egyptology in The Sacred Spirit by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. She goes into how there’s a lot of watching going on in the film. The eyes are all around the movie.

Pyramid Scheme (20:59) let John Nelson dig into the elements of conspiracy, class and capitalism. He links it to one of the short films on the bonus disc. He gets into how the conspiracy is used to manipulate others and hide the true nature of a character.

Domestic Science Fiction (18:46) sits down with writer-director Chema Garcia Ibarra to talk about how has career has let to this frightening work. He considers the six short films as films so that this is his 7th film and not his first feature film.

Behind the Scenes includes four short featurettes that deal with the cinematography & Production (2:28), Director (2:33), Production Design (2:16) and Cast (2:25). They shot part of the film in 16mm to get the texture.

Elche Vision is six reports about the making of the film, hosted by actress Lorena Iglesias in character as Esther Armengol, presenter of The Sacred Spirit’s fictional local TV show. She seems like she’s doing PM Magazine episodes. They’re each around 3 minutes.

Promotional videos in which nine characters of The Sacred Spirit talk about themselves. They are each about 15 seconds long.

Uncut TV Clips (7:25) from the four segments of The Sacred Spirit that were running on TV in the background.

Image gallery has five shots from the production.

Theatrical trailer (1:36) brings together the elements of the kidnapped child and the UFO fanatics.

Disc 2 Domestic Sci-fi: The Short Films Of Chema Garcia Ibarra (Limited Edition Exclusive)

The Attack of the Robots from Nebula-5 (2008 – 6:18) is about UFOs coming to earth. The film was a Sundance Film Festival Award Winner

Protoparticles (2013 – 7:15) has a man in a spacesuit wandering around town and talking about Protomatter. This also won an award at the Sundance Film Festival.

Mystery (2013 – 12:04) has woman talking about a visit with the Virgin Mary. It’s a bizzare tale. This won an award at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Uranes (2014 – 59:14) is strange biography told with still photos and found video footage. A narrator ties the elements together.

The Disco Shines (2016 – 12:12) is about a party in the desert town. This won an award at the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema.

The Golden Legend (2019 – 11:07) opens with a very unusual beach towel. This is about a day at the pool. It won an award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival Award Winner

Arrow Video presents The Sacred Spirit. Directed by Chema Garcia Ibarra. Screenplay by Chema Garcia Ibarra. Starring Nacho Fernández, Llum Arques, Joanna Valverde, Rocío Ibáñez. Running Time: 97 minutes. Rated: Unrated. Release Date: July 19, 2022.

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