The mind does not always refer to the beach when the calendar marks the days of Easter. The inevitable summer days, which are so settled in the collective unconscious to get on the road and spend a few sunny days, are not a rule for everyone.
Although Holy Week has an aura of reflection and spirituality in its conception, for many it becomes a lifestyle that is traced year after year through the films that always appear on the schedule of television channels.
Although the platforms streaming have put traditional television in check, Easter is a perfect example of how the small screen still has its audience. Why is religious cinema so fascinating to many? A couple of examples, from different age generations, comment on their obsessions and feelings about it.
“I may not know which films are nominated for the Oscar or Golden Globes,” admits Óscar Espinal, 26, “but I can tell you the breakdown of times and movies for Easter. I know which days I want to stay up late, stay up late and watch these tapes until dawn”.
Óscar tells of his fascination from the room in his house, one filled with history books and autobiographies that cultivated his interest in studying what he does today: international relations.
Since he was a child, he sought in cultural products the way to deepen his fascination with the history of civilizations. Being the one who always raised his hand in Social Studies class, he realized that there was another place to learn more about it outside of the elementary classroom.
“I started watching Easter movies around 2005, when I was eight years old. Saw Marcelino Bread and Wine and it marked me, then I realized that these films abounded. I started to see more and realized that they were telling me about more things than just religion,” she recalls.
In that decade he was amazed by the programming grids. In times when Netflix didn’t even show up, he saw that “not only were there movies on channel six and seven, but the special was all week and on all channels. And they showed films about the crusades, about Joan of Arc… Films that not only turn more to times than to Christianity. Of those that remain, practically only Cleopatra and Spartacus pass, but it is interesting because more than a religious framework it is a cultural aspect, ”he reflects.
“Whoever watches Easter movies understands a lot about ancient history. The time of the Persians, of the Babylonians, of the Romans, of the Greeks… In my case, it generated my passion for the cultural and historical field”, he adds.
Óscar assures that he is not a religious practitioner. “I’m Catholic because of my family’s culture,” he admits, “but for me watching these movies is generating spirituality. Many times they are repeated, but I see the six hours of Jesus of Nazareth, the five hours of The Ten Commandments and I feel happy. It is my way of assuming spirituality”.
Doña Saray, 49, says it to the letter: “I don’t like to think about going out on those days,” she says, referring to Easter, “because if I don’t I miss the movies.”
She, who works as a cook in a primary school, has a special opportunity to see programming on this theme. Since the school kids go out of class all week, she is free to stay at her house and enjoy, especially, Ben-Hur, her favorite film.
“That’s how it’s always been and I doubt it’ll change,” he says, “because my family grew up like that.” “Of five sisters, only one is the one who thinks of taking a little walk these days. We saw her weird the first few times she said she wasn’t going to stay at home, but then we got used to it, ”she says with a laugh.
Why do you like these feature films? Doña Saray thinks about her answer for a bit until she finds the reason for her obsession. “I think it takes me out of everyday life because at Easter I don’t start sweeping, I don’t start cleaning. To cook, yes, because there is no room for it”, she says, laughing, “but for me the ritual is to sit in front of the television, open the door of the house so that the wind can enter and stay all the time watching the movies. It is my way of doing it and I don’t know if that makes me religious or not, but I like it ”, she ends.