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Movie propaganda

It will scare the hell into you.

The messenger must be silenced

Frankie Paige (Patricia Arquette) is in her 20s. She works as a hairdresser. She has a boyfriend. there are a hundred other girls like Frankie Paige within a kilometre radius of her apartment.

But unlike all of them, things happen to Frankie - terrible things she can't understand or explain. And though she has tried everything to make them stop, they're just getting worse. She goes to doctors and psychologists, but even they can't answer the most important question: why her?

At the darkest moment of one of her episodes, a chance encounter with a local priest is caught on tape and the frightening implications of the incident drive the Vatican to send their own investigator, Andrew Kiernan (Gabriel Byrne). Confronted with the powerful force that has taken control of Frankie, Kiernan immediately recognises the true danger she is in and he must search his own soul for the strength to save her life, even if it goes against everything he believes.

Also starring Jonathan Pryce as Cardinal Houseman, Nia Long as Donna, Portia de Rossi as Jennifer, Rade Sherbedgia as Petrocelli, Michael Lombard as Proctor Bobby McKinley, Enrico Colantoni as Father Darius. Directed by Rupert Wainwright.

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report


Media intelligence (DVD and VHS)

  • Alternative endings
  • Deleted scenes
  • Making-of documentary
  • Music video by Natalie imbruglia
  • Audio commentary by Rupert Wainwright (DVD only)

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Medium level violence, supernatural theme)

Surveillance time

98 minutes (1:38 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

VHS rental: 30 May 2001
DVD rental: Undated June 2001

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Stigmata image
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15 startling stigmatic facts you can't poke holes in

Stigmata: the phenomenon

  • St Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), founder of the Franciscan order of monks, was the first known stigmatic, receiving five wounds in the year 1205. He was closely followed by Stephen Langton of Canterbury, England, whose wounds appeared in 1222.
  • Common forms of stigmata include the marks of nails in their hands (or wrists) and feet, a spear wound on one side of the abdomen, the marks of a crown of thorns and whip lashes across the back. Some stigmatics suffer injuries to one of their shoulders, claimed to be linked to Christ's carrying of the cross prior to his crucifixion. Stigmatics often suffer the most on days of holy significance, especially Good Friday.
  • Stigmatic Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) was able to enter a religious trance in which she could precisely describe Christ's journey through Palestine, describing in detail its rivers, mountains, forests and towns, their inhabitants, costume, manners and customs. She had never left Germany.
  • Maria de Mörl (1799-1848) received the stigmata as a religious procession passed her home. Several witnesses saw her levitate from her bed, radiant light shining through her wounds.
  • Probably the most famous stigmatic of this century was Padre Pio (1887-1968), who first received the stigmata aged 23, and continued to receive the wounds until his death more than 50 years later. Padre Pio could also project his image, appearing to members of his congregation while his physical body was elsewhere.
  • Of all modern stigmatics, Sister Therese Neumann (1898-1962) probably suffered the most. She had wounds on the hands, feet and forehead and lash marks on her back. She also bled profusely from the eyes and was said to be able to survive on nothing but the Eucharist (communion wafers) for months at a time, but suffered no ill effects.
  • Most stigmatics suffer no ill effects from the blood lost from their bleeding wounds, no matter how much they bleed.
  • Giorgio Bongiovanni claims to have received the stigmata during a pilgrimage to Fatima in 1989, since which time his wounds have bled daily. He claims that the phenomenon in linked with alien abductions, and believes that angels are aliens composed of "spiritual energy".
  • British stigmatic Ethel Chapman experienced the stigmata during a dream of religious ecstasy while in a Liverpool hospital under close medical supervision.
  • Since 1588, cases of stigmata have been investigated by a division of the Vatican latterly known as the "Congregation for the causes of the saints". After reviewing their reports on miracles, martyrdom and heroic virtues of various servants of God, the Pope proceeds to a serious of canonisations and beautifications.

Stigmata: the film

  • Patricia Arquette's character was named Frankie (Frances) after St Francis of Assisi, the first stigmatic.
  • Gabriel Byrne claims that he joined the cast of the film because in 20 years as an Irish actor, he had never played a priest.
  • A consultant joined the crew to provide expert tuition in Aramaic, the ancient form of Hebrew spoken at the time of Christ. The language is particularly difficult to master because it has no vowels.
  • The production designer removed all examples of the colour red from the film, except for the blood of the stigmata.
  • On its opening weekend, Stigmata shot to the top of the USA box office chart, grossing $18 million. The film went on to gross almost $100 million worldwide.

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