the chronicle of the journalistic investigation that revealed to the world the hidden horror of the abuses in the Catholic Church

KERRY HAYES

Michael Keaton will be 70 years old on Sunday, September 5. In the most recent stretches of a long career in the cinema that saw ups and downs but also, undoubtedly, exhibited a few very high points, a role appears that to this day remains as unnoticed as it happened from the moment of its premiere, at the end of 2015. He is the personification of Walter Robinson, research editor of The Boston Globe and head of the team that first revealed to the world the network of abuses and cover-ups that for several decades had Catholic priests from the archdiocese of that American city as protagonists.

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The patient and monumental work of this group of journalists is the basis of Spotlight: on the front page, which won two Oscars in 2016 (Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay), but above those awards, he managed for many to restore meaning, value, commitment and mystique to a highly questioned and beaten activity, especially in the United States. Thanks to this film, “journalists have expressed feeling motivated, guided and reconfirmed in their vocation,” he wrote. Marty Baron, a true journalism legend, who retired in February this year after spending 45 years in the newsroom. Baron also appears in the film (with the face of Liev Schreiber) because, as editor-in-chief of The Boston Globe, he was ultimately responsible for making a world-class investigation finally find a place in the pages of the newspaper.

Spotlight, by Todd McCarthy, winner of the 2016 Oscar for Best Picture

Todd McCarthy’s Spotlight, 2016 Oscar winner for Best Picture

Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber and Bryan D’Arcy James in Spotlight: Front Page, Oscar Winner 2016

If the appearance of Keaton and the rest of an exemplary cast did not reach sufficient prominence so that today the film is identified, as it usually happens, from the faces of its interpreters, the explanation must be sought in a decision of its producers , striking in a world used to looking for ephemeral lights and glitters. They believed that because it was a choral story, in which none of the characters prevailed over the others, it was not appropriate to nominate any of its actors as a candidate for a leading role.

Thus, of the six nominations with which he reached the Oscar, two corresponded to Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams as supporting actors. None of them took the statuette. It is very likely that from the symbolic the valued (and committed) interpreters of Spotlight have lived as a prize of greatest value that moment in September 2015 in which they appeared on the stage of the Toronto Festival together with the journalists they had to interpret, before the first full-room screening of the film.

That night it was the turn of the film’s writer and director, Tom McCarthy, to first summon Keaton, Schreiber, Ruffalo, McAdams, John Slattery and Brian D’Arcy James, and immediately afterwards the six architects of The Boston’s extraordinary investigation. Globe: Robinson, Baron, Mike Rezendes, Sacha Pfeiffer, Ben Bradlee Jr., and Matt Carroll. “They were all greeted as if they were astronauts who had just arrived from a mission. There were three minutes of standing ovation, ”McCarthy would later say in front of LA NACION.

“At the center is the progress of the investigation, which is like the slow patient armed with a puzzle. Every piece matters; none is decisive or all are “, wrote Fernando López in the criticism of LA NACION, published on February 11, 2016, the day of the premiere of Spotlight in the cinemas of Argentina. There it is added as relevant data that everything that matters in the film appears in the background: testimonies, information that is linked, stumbling blocks and difficulties that impose new search criteria, hypotheses and theories “that illuminate dark areas and make room for new avenues of research ”. The film also shows some moments of fury and helplessness, in which it seems that journalists are on the verge of throwing in the towel, resigned to the fact that power (in all its expression) resort to all the means at its disposal so that the truth is keep hidden and never be known.

Michael Keaton y Rachel McAdams and Spotlight

Michael Keaton y Rachel McAdams and Spotlight

Michael Keaton y Rachel McAdams and Spotlight

The patient rhythm, oblivious to any vertigo that the film employs is essential to understand the meaning of the meticulous, committed and professional work of the team in charge of the investigation. And at the same time it is the only possible way to fully understand another key factor in history: it was necessary to overcome the multitude of obstacles, barriers and pacts of silence that for many years stopped the investigation, in addition to aggravating the penalties and penalties to intolerable extremes. the pains of the victims. Facing with some expectation of success the silence of the ecclesiastical authorities and the complicity of the local political community required this strategy. The movie shows it.

This way of narrating makes the observation of the work of investigating journalists much more convincing and reinforces the transparency of the survivors’ testimony. And in this way the blows of effect are also avoided. In other hands less aware of the rigor that a journalistic investigation of this type requires (and that of the Boston Globe was exemplary in that sense) the result would have been a film loaded with sensationalism. Spotlight It is the best demonstration that these types of stories based on shocking real events do not need to resort to noise, exaggeration, in search of impact and emphasis to tell the truth and shake the hearts of the public with it.

Last February, Baron spoke with LA NACION and said that the investigation that he led as editor-in-chief at the Boston Globe was the most important of his entire long and extraordinary journalistic career. “It certainly was the one that had the deepest meaning for me because it had a very direct impact on the lives of ordinary people, survivors, victims of clergy abuse who were not being heard” or by law enforcement forces, not by politicians, not by journalists, Baron told Hugo Alconada Mon.

Spotlight paid off that debt, vindicated the best possible journalism and also made it possible to understand why McCarthy chose an exemplary group of great actors to bring her to the screen. Michael Keaton said, for example, that until today he maintains the habit of finding out what is happening in the world by reading newspapers on paper.

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the chronicle of the journalistic investigation that revealed to the world the hidden horror of the abuses in the Catholic Church