Fidencio Constantino was a healer who lived in Mexico during the
1920's. He was evidently somewhat eccentric, often dressing as the
Virgin of Guadalupe. But he was also widely renowned throughout
Mexico for his healing powers. At huge rallies his devotees would
sometimes pass him from hand to hand overhead, giving all an
opportunity to touch him.
died when doctors, thinking him already dead, began an autopsy. It
turns out he had assured his followers that he would enter into a
three day trance while asking God what his mission would be.
Detecting no pulse, the doctors cut a major artery only to
discover, too late, that he was not dead after all.
* * * * *
have a series of scenes in the EvenHand screenplay that
call for a group of kids to paint a mural on the side of a
neighborhood building. At the beginning of our story, the wall
will be seen covered with graffiti. Soon after, we will see the
kids painting the wall white. A little later we will see them
sketching the outlines of the mural and finally, at the end of the
film, we will see the completed
have engaged the Healy-Murphy Center, a local community
organization that works with neighborhood kids, to find and
supervise the artists that will design and paint the mural. Since
we need to see the various stages of the painting within the
framework of the story and its characters, the actual execution of
the painting must take place in real time as we film. We will
schedule scenes to be shot on that corner periodically throughout
enters into the story for a couple of reasons. He first came to my
attention because the owner of the building on which we will paint
the mural happens to be making a documentary film about him. This
led to a discussion with Fernando about his importance in the
Latino community in which we will be doing much of our filming.
For that reason especially, it seemed appropriate to find a way to
incorporate his image and spirit into our mural. The notion of a
healer becoming a prominent figure in the mural was also appealing
because a plotline in the film involves a conflict between one of
the police officers (Morning) and a kid from the neighborhood
(Toby). While their relationship ends in tragedy, I want the mural
to represent the promise of reconciliation.
Here's a draft of the mural design
EvenHand mural is a relatively minor and almost entirely
visual element of the narrative. But, like every other piece of
the puzzle, many hours of thought, meetings and logistical
planning must take place to effectively incorporate it into the
- Joseph Pierson
I received the following e-mail last week:
Sent: Monday, April 01, 2002 6:11 PM
Subject: Evenhand & Nino Fidencio
To Whom It May Concern:
I am a Hispanic Roman Catholic and I wanted you to know that I do
not believe in the nino fidencio. This belief in him is simply
a belief in black magic.
In the advertisement for your movie, Evenhand, you showed a sketch
of the mural you plan on using for your movie. I don't know if
it has already been produced or released, but I want to inform you
that the sketch you are using is blasphemous. It is absurd to
in any way equate him with the Virgin Mary and/or Jesus Christ.
Your movie will not appeal to Catholics around the world. In
fact, the Catholic Church would NOT approve of your movie. I
find the mural to be offensive and morally wrong. The mural is
sacrilegious because it portrays this nino fidencio as the Virgin
I thank you for your time and consideration. May God bless you
and guide you.
* * * * *
I have two things to say about the above
correspondence. Thing one is a sincere statement of regret if the
inclusion of Nino Fidencio in my film causes any distress or offense
to Roman Catholics. While my use of the image of Nino does not
represent an endorsement of the values he represents, it does
reflect an historical and true aspect of the Latino culture
portrayed in EvenHand, for better or worse.
Thing two is a caution to those inclined to judge a
work of art based on preconceived notions of what it represents
without having viewed it. I will not accept anyone telling me that
my movie will "not appeal to Roman Catholics around the
world" or that it will be condemned by the Catholic Church
before my accuser has viewed a frame of footage. Preemptive
censorship is the worst kind.
It is also worth noting that the mural has become a
very minor element in the film. My hope is that even those who might
find the image of Nino offensive will view it in the broader context
of a film that is about much more than a controversial Mexican
ANATOMY OF A PATCH
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