Directed by Robert Greene, Netflix’s Procession documents the tale of six men abused at boyhood by the Catholic clergy – Procession is not a documentary that investigates the scandal or even the story of how these men were abused. Greene makes it clear that this documentary is about healing, moving on from the memoirs of a traumatic childhood spent at the Catholic clergy. A thought-provoking documentary, Procession tugs at the corners of your heart hours after you have finished watching the story.
Netflix describes the film in the following words,
Six men who were sexually abused by Catholic clergy as boys become a makeshift family and find empowerment by creating films inspired by their trauma.
– Procession review does not contain spoilers –
The purpose of any religious community is extremely simple – a healthy religious community exists for healing and guiding the lost souls, ultimately bringing peace to everyone, even people outside the community in question. However, more often than not, religious communities withhold healing instead of offering it. The ones with power seek to grasp more power while innocent people are hurt in shocking ways. Robert Greene’s Procession is a profound documentary on the untold tales of sexual abuse that children face at the hands of Catholic priests.
Cinema has often discussed the topic, most memorably in Tom McCarthy’s 2015 Best Picture film, Spotlight, but never like this. Amidst the darkness, Procession finds a still, small light. Again Greene does not aim to expose – as the title suggests, the documentary deals with the complex process of healing and what it looks like when you finally try to move on from the traumatic experiences of your past.
In August 2018, attorney Rebecca Randles held a controversial press conference in Kansas City, accompanied by a few men who had accused the local Catholic church of sexually abusing them when they were kids. Soon Greene goes in touch with Randles hoping to bring together the group of men for collaborating on a film. The goal? The goal was to work through the trauma of these men through scripted scenes that they would write themselves.
Robert Greene has been known as one of the most innovative directors in America for years now – he constantly keeps poking at what we as an audience keeps expecting from a documentary, startling all the sceptics in the process. Fake It So Real (2012) Actress (2014), Kate Plays Christine (2016) and Bisbee ’17 (2018) are all innovative attempts on Greene’s part. Procession chronicles the experience of six men, Tom Viviano, Joe Eldred, Ed Gavagan, Michael Sandridge, Dan Laurine, and Mike Foreman – all of them approached Greene’s project sceptically, unsure about the process, but nonetheless with a willingness to try.
Summing Up Procession: Boyhood At Risk
While watching Procession, I was honestly gutted – watching any kind of pain on screen is always hard but at the same time, it is also a unique experience. It’s non-fiction and naturally captures what it actually looks like when people come forward to form a community for healing – to relive the trauma of the past with the intention of moving on. Procession documentary is a portrait roughly sketched by people who have been a part of such a community. An absolute watch for the weekend, this profound documentary by Robert Greene moves you in ways you never thought possible.
Procession is streaming on Netflix.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.