Press "Enter" to skip to content

On the phenomenon of El Reino, five series on the B-side of religion

“I write fiction. And fiction is a lie. It can be a plausible lie or not, entertaining or not, that opens debates in society or not. But always a lie ”. With those words, the writer Claudia Piñeiro explained what apparently needs no explanation: the fictional pact.

The screenwriter and one of the creators of The kingdom answered to the criticisms of the evangelical leaders who reviled her for an artistic look, a few days after the premiere of the series that is a boom on Netflix.

Argentine production, an x-ray of the rise of evangelical groups to politics, remains in the ten most viewed on the platform. And, a few weeks after its appearance, a second season has already been confirmed.

The tradition and customs of the main religious groups and, more recently in time, contemporary spirituality were a great subject for very diverse productions in the cinema and in the series. As a result of the debate that opened The kingdomhere they go five fiction and documentary series to enjoy and discuss, beyond belief.

In “El Reino”, Diego Peretti is Pastor Emilio, a candidate for vice president.

1) The Handmaid’s Tale (Flow and DirecTV)

It was first a dystopian novel, published in the 1980s by Canadian Margaret Atwood and translated into more than 40 languages. Then a movie in the ’90s; also an opera and a ballet. But the general public learned the story from the series, released in 2017, when Donald Trump came to power in the United States.

"The Handmaid

“The Handmaid’s Tale”, a classic in serial format.

In the context of a fundamentalist dictatorship in the religious republic of Gilead, a young woman must live as a concubine to give children to her “lord” and, in this way, mitigate the fertility problems that exist in society. The four seasons are a gem, which made the series an icon of the feminist struggle. And to which accused of being “antireligious”.

On some occasion, Atwood gave a categorical answer: “If the United States had a dictatorship, it would be religious. The book is not anti-religious. He is against the use of religion as a facade for tyranny; which is something completely different ”.

Elisabeth Moss’s portrayal as Offred is a gem, which deserves all the awards it garnered in the history of the series. Terror and brutality without concessions to tell a story less and less dystopian. And more of now.

2) Wild Wild Country (Netflix)

The individualization of religious experience and a search in tune with contemporary needs gave rise to a host of gurus. Perhaps the most iconic was Chandra Mohan Jain, known worldwide as Osho. The Netflix documentary series, divided into six one-hour episodes, is a fascinating journey into the hard core of the Indian-born man, who died in 1990.

They said everything about him: that he was addicted to sex and drugs, that he was crazy, that he was a fantastic speaker and that they were so rich that he had 93 Rolls Royce cars. The series goes far beyond the portrait of a spiritual leader. Has bioterrorism vignettes, FBI agents, guns and utopian cities.

All in the name of a message of peace and love. The Serie It is not exempt from delusional moments, but it does not abandon the real events and documented with great quality.

3) Mark Hoffman: A Forger Among Mormons (Netflix)

Religion is the backdrop for the story of a master of the art of counterfeiting, produced by BBC Studios for Netflix. Mark Hoffman “found” historical documents of all kinds until he began to specialize in the history of the Latter-day Saint Movement, founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith.

The Netflix series has three one-hour chapters.

The Netflix series has three one-hour chapters.

He became famous for apparently original documents, which he sold for millions of dollars. Until something happened that forced him to change his plans. Along the three one hour chapters, the docuserie not only tells its story, it also broaden your gaze to the Mormons of the state of Utah, its history and its power in the politics of the United States.

The perversity of Hoffman, the exquisiteness of his forgeries and the power of faith are some of the ingredients of the series, which it gets interesting in the second half.f

4) Messiah (Netflix)

“Does God want you here? In a detention center in Texas? ”, An FBI agent asks the protagonist of Messiah in one of the opening episodes. Undaunted, he stares at her and replies: “For now.” A messianic leader, who comes from the Middle East and seeks to reach the West en masse, is the protagonist of the series, which tI saw an abrupt ending on Netflix.

"Messiah" ended abruptly.  Because of external pressure?

“Messiah” ended abruptly. Because of external pressure?

Some conjectured that the closure had a reason: the claims from before its appearance for being “an anti-Islamic propaganda”. The streaming platform responded with a statement, which read the following: “Messiah it is a work of fiction. It is not based on any character, figure or religion ”.

Along the ten chapters, the series shows its provocative nature, but perhaps it is half way through – the open end of a single season gives that feeling – and sins for wanting to cover everything. Cultures, beliefs, links between religions … It means it all in a mystery thriller format..

5) Carnivàle (HBO)

Although it is already a few years old (2003-2005), it can still be seen on HBO and is in full force. Set in the Great Depression of the United States, it tells the story of a young man who joins a traveling circus. So far a normal story of someone looking for life.

The HBO series is almost 20 years old and remains valid.  There are 24 episodes spread over two seasons.

The HBO series is almost 20 years old and remains valid. There are 24 episodes spread over two seasons.

But -without but no history- his thoughts coincide with those of a rather visionary Protestant pastor, played by Clancy Brown. In that little community of freaks, where card shooters and strongmen abound, the notion of good and evil appears floating all the time; of course, of God and of the Devil.

Recorded in Santa Clarita (California), the series –two seasons and 24 episodes– offers a strange mix of Christianity, Knights Templar and Freemasonry, with a captivating soundtrack by Jeff Beal.

The list can continue with series like The New Pope, Little Orthodox O João de Deus, curandero and criminal. The narratives are diverse and range from the more traditional religions to the new movements that some scholars call “Spiritual capitalism”. The offer is as wide as faith. And it invites us to question – or vindicate – our beliefs.


Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *