Chema García Ibarra’s film opens with a young girl reading off cards for a school presentation – all normal, until she declares that the unbaptised will have their organs stolen. She is revealed to be the twin of a missing girl whose trail has gone cold. Meanwhile, the girl’s uncle José Manuel (Nacho Fernández) enthusiastically participates in the meetings of Ovni-Levante, a group dedicated to proving the existence of UFOs and alien life – and abductions. When the group’s leader dies suddenly, José gains a clue to humanity’s fate among the stars – or perhaps a clue to the leader’s darker, baser impulses. Whether or not he embarks into one or both investigations and sees the cosmic (or his personal) plan to its end compounds the mysterious, dark heart of The Sacred Spirit

It is not surprising The Sacred Spirit will be released on DVD by Arrow; its confidence of tone and belief in the stories it tells the audience and its characters tell each other mark it as a budding cult sci-fi classic. The sense that something is rotten is all-pervasive even in lighter, more whimsical scenes, but as real (or not) as José’s extraterrestrials are, Ibarra refuses to shed light or judgement. Instead, his script imbues each character with fundamental dignity, showing the ease, peril, and vulnerability of communal conspiracy theories. Everyone is searching for answers; refusing easy ones elevates what could be a schocky premise to profundity. 

The cast – largely non-professional actors – can lean towards the stilted, but the halting dialogue effectively highlights their futile search for sense and order. Fernández is the film’s magnetic centre, grounding the most outlandish scenes with a quiet focus.

Baffling, absurd, and acutely aware of the impossibility of justice in an anarchic world, The Sacred Spirit requires leaps of faith and rewards them richly. 



CAST: Nacho Fernández, Llum Arques, Joanna Valverde, Rocío Ibáñez

DIRECTOR: Chema García Ibarra

WRITER: Chema García Ibarra

SYNOPSIS: A twin sister goes missing and an uncle seeks answers among a UFO-hunting group.

The rest of the ADRIFT season can be found here