Riders of the Sacred Blood

Director: Douglas Wolfsperger

2004. English subtitles. Colour. 86 min.

For over 1000 years the Upper Swabian town of Weingarten in southwest Germany has been celebrating the ‘Ride of the Sacred Blood’. On the day after Ascension, 3000 horsemen pay homage to a holy relic which is believed to contain a drop of the blood of Jesus Christ. While similar rituals elsewhere have been reduced to folkloric popular events, in Upper Swabia the tradition is taken very seriously. As a local priest puts it, the ‘Ride of the Sacred Blood’ is ‘like Christmas, Easter and Pentecost all rolled into one.’ Veneration of the holy relic is believed to heal the sick, give courage to those in despair, and turn scoffers into devout believers. Combing gentle irony with a genuine fondness for his subjects, ace documentary ?lmmaker Douglas Wolfsperger presents another unique slice of German small-town life and a wonderful portrait of quirky characters.

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