A Black Jesus

A film by Luca Lucchesi
Produced by Wim Wenders

92 minute, color, Austria, 2020

DVD Subtitled in English
DSL Subtuted in English, German and Italian


For many centuries, in a small town on the southern border of Europe, people have been worshipping a statue of a black Jesus. 19-year-old Edward from Ghana, a resident of the refugee centre which is the subject of great controversy in the village, asks to carry the statue in the annual procession and to stand next to the locals that bear its cart. The community is divided over the response.

On a journey exploring the source of fear and prejudice against “the others”, the inhabitants of this small European village are called upon to question their own identity, starting with the very icon of their faith: a black Jesus.

Faculty Accolades and Reviews


“Sicily is renowned throughout history for being one of the most ancient geographical crossroads. As a strategic point placed in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, the artistically and culturally multifaceted island has witnessed at least thirteen different colonizations, from Greeks and Etruscans to Arabs and Normans. There is still a plethora left of architectural and linguistic elements to prove it. There used to be a time, as recently as the mid-1970s, when Sicilians themselves were perceived as foreigners.

Poverty and lack of jobs were the main reasons why Southern Italians felt somehow coerced into moving either to other continents like the Americas and Australia or simply to northern Italian and European regions in search of a better quality of life, establishing their own little communities all the while enduring the struggle of being seen as less than by the locals. Older generations still hold the unpleasant memory of signs spread on shops and housing complexes up in northern Italy which clearly stated “Africans, Sicilians, and dogs not welcome”.

Luca Lucchesi perfectly captures a multitude of perspectives and agendas coexisting within such a small environment as Siculiana. He lays bare the shameful overly nationalistic, and exclusionary political attitude of Minister Matteo Salvini. A Black Jesus details the disunity among the indigenous population and refugees, as well as dissension among the locals themselves when faced with both the abundant flux of immigration and the lack of jobs in their small Sicilian coastal town. This pushes a lot of young locals to search for fortune elsewhere, therefore rehashing an ancestral historical cycle.

The director remarkably balances the duality of the population’s viewpoints. This enraging portrayal of the neat division between locals and immigrants is film activism at its very best. Lucchesi’s documentary is a powerful eye-opener for anyone dealing with the ramifications of bigoted thinking and racist behaviors. Highly Recommended Video Librarian, Nunziio Santoro, June 21, 2022

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