Based on real events, Visionaries tells of a group of Basque villagers whose religious ‘visions’ are believed by some to have predicted the Civil War. In 1931, during the early years of the second Spanish Republic, an anti-clerical movement swept through Spain and it was decreed that state-sponsored schools were to halt religious instruction and public buildings were to remove religious artwork. The decree was highly controversial among a large number of Spanish citizens. Against this backdrop, a group of villagers claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary, whose warning of an impending conflict reinforced existing divisions and focused attention on a small community that was manipulated by the media and religious groups.
Veteran director Manuel Gutierrez Arg’n gives this story of religious fervour and political manipulation the big treatment in his star-studded drama, which boasts superb production values and has a story of doomed romance to give it mass appeal. Heartthrob Eduardo Noriega (Open Your Eyes) stars as Joshe, a young teacher from the town of Ezkioga who finds himself torn between two womenohis fiancee, Edurne (Leire Ucha), and Usua (Ingrid Rubio), a maid at the local tavern. Although both women claim to have seen the nightly visions of the Virgin in a hillside clearing, Edurne soon admits that what she saw was the product of mass hysteria. But Usua insists that the visions are real, and Joshe struggles to convince her to embrace logic rather than faith.
2001. English subtitles. Colour. Anamorphic. Dolby digital stereo. 112 mins