Carving Thy Faith
A sculpture believed to have been imported in town during Spanish colonial conquest, locally known as Mahal na Señor Sepulcro, is celebrating its 500 years. Meanwhile, composed of non-actors, Senakulo re-enacts the sufferings and death of Jesus. As the local community yearly unites to commemorate the Passion of Christ, a laborious journey unfolds following local craftsmen in transforming blocks of wood into a larger than life Jesus crucified on a 12-ft cross. The film is a 5-year visual ethnography of traditional yet practical orchestration of Semana Santa in a small town where religious woodcarving is the livelihood. An experiential film on neocolonial Philippines’ interpretation of Saints and Gods through many forms of rituals and iconographies, exposing wood as raw material that undergoes production processes before becoming a spiritual object of devotion.
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