Director: Davide Pesca
Writer: Davide Pesca
Year: 2018
Starring: Nicola Fugazza, Mary Rubes

THE SUFFERING BIBLE from Daniele Pesca is an episodic film that revisits select Biblical passages or fables but rather than showing us a Christian paradise THE SUFFERING BIBLE takes us on a hellish journey. Director Davide Pesca has previous for creating uncompromising short films having contributed to the anthologies 17 A MEZZANOTTE, A TASTE OF PHOBIA and DEEP WEB XXX as well as the Black Lava released TALES FROM DEEP HELL, which looks terrific but I am yet to see, and so expectations are high.

The harrowing black and white sequence that opens THE SUFFERING BIBLE certainly is promising and lives up to the directors reputation as we witness a near naked woman scrambling across a woodland floor while a discordant almost white noise sound rings out of the speakers. If the aim is to unsettle then THE SUFFERING BIBLE achieves this feeling very early on.

From here the first act is presented to us; titled ‘My Only God’, and a colour palette is introduced into the film but the visuals are no less disturbing as we see a woman tied to a bed, bound and gagged. Approached by another woman, a nice change from the usual trope, we learn that our incapacitated victim had promised the other that they would “be together forever”.

Suddenly it becomes clear that this is a tale of insecurity, of jealousy and undoubtably a tale of warped, disturbed love. Displaying quite literally the intertwined bonds of love, this opening act is a powerful start for the film but additionally it is also its pinnacle.

We return briefly to woodland footage which is not so much a wraparound segment rather than cogent interlude and we soon begin the second act; San Toma.

This act begins with a static shot of ‘The Incredulity of Saint Thomas’ (Doubting Thomas) as by one of my favourite artists, Caravaggio, and plays out almost as another literal translation.

In this act, a monk engages in self-flagellation causing Christ to appear. Praise Jebus! Success you might think however rather than rejoice things become rather heretical, blasphemous and bloody as a sort of perverse pleasure takes over the monk whose devotion spills over into madness and he cannot help but taste the body of christ and drink his blood, taking the communion to its logical, literal almost orgasmic conclusion. 

Meanwhile Act 3: ‘In the Name of the Father’ possesses a melancholic start and a reasonable solo performance by the female actress. However this is the first story in which I did not understand the symbolism resulting in the whole thing merely being graphic self-harm and not much more.

Moving on and the forth act, ‘The Pact’ despite looking a lot more artistic suffers from the same problem, although to a slightly lesser degree, but are the actions a metaphor for something or part of her psyche? I have no idea but I do know that my mind started to wonder at several points during this tale. 

The final act. ‘Redemption of the Lost Souls’ takes thing back up a notch with a tale of suicidal desperation and exploitation. Here the message is clearer to pick up and rather than being one of society eliminating those it deems unworthy, as it initially seems, it rather surprisingly (and pleasantly) plays to the notion that many who feel suicidal believe that others will be better off without them…and by suffering they ensure that. Benefitting from some good Fx and a clear message, ‘Redemption of the Lost Souls’ ensures that the THE SUFFERING BIBLE ends on a high.

It certainly won’t be for everyone and I found it a mixed bag with little personal replay value but big fans of the Black Lava and recent Unearthed Films releases will enjoy it enough. However THE SUFFERING BIBLE does little to alleviate my worries that often these films are little more than technical portfolio exercises for the director as opposed to anything deeper. Although I do concede that perhaps it is due to my lack of knowledge around theology and the bible that has led me to not fully understand the messages at play here.

Either way, Davide Pesca is someone with the potential to make something truly worthwhile so check out the trailer below and decide for yourself.

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