Miracle in Rome (Milagro en Roma)

Institute History

  • 1989 Sundance Film Festival


Margarito Duarte is a modest court official in a small town in Colombia. One day Evelia, his seven-year-old daughter, dies suddenly. Twelve years later, Margarito visits the cemetery to dig up the remains of his child. Both he, and other people nearby are amazed to find the girl’s body still intact, as if she had just gone to sleep.

The event has a profound effect both on the town and it’s inhabitants and , naturally, on the priest and the bishop. The latter, however, disagrees with his parishioners. Not believing there has been a miracle, he orders the girl’s body to be buried again. Also, he specifies that the round be watered to help decompose the body. However, now that Margarito has regained his child, he has no intention of committing a crime by suffocating her . The town, turning against the bishop, indirectly supports Margarito’s intentions. The crowd screams that the girl is saint, and, therefore, that there has been a miracle. All working together, they organize an emergency collection, raising a handsome amount of money with which they send father and daughter off to Rome, “for the Holy Father to decide about the miracle.”

In Rome, Margarito comes up against the vicissitudes of the millenarian Vatican City. The sainthood investigation in danger of disappearing behind reams of red tape, with little help from the staff of the Colombian Embassy, who are fully aware of the political advantages to be gained from facilitating the process of verifying the first Colombian saint. As an artist, I could not pass over this fascinating character who, after overcoming political intrigue, diplomatic traps, and even police sieges, and armed only with his dignity, finally emerges victorious. With his triumph, the brevity of life prevails over the presumptuous eternity of death.

— Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Screening Details

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