An agnostic man, coming from an agnostic family, discovers that little by little, his loved ones have changed and converted to Catholicism.
This is the story line of the documentary “Converso,” which means to convert. It is a documentary in which a series of questions arise in an agnostic man, who wants to stop feeling like a stranger amongst his own family. Thus, he tries to understand the process of conversion that is occurring in his own home.
“Much of the film arises from the need to understand what was happening to them, and the pain of not being a part of what was happening. The film, in that sense, has greatly helped heal our conversations about what we were experiencing.”
The title, “Converso,” comes from the Spanish verb 'conversar,” which means to “have a talk.” Filmmaker David Arratibel needed these conversations with his family to happen in front of the camera. When they finally took place, they came naturally, and sent a very powerful message.
“I would like the film to propose to initiate religious conversation without prejudice, but with love, and from trying to understand the other's point of view. That is, to talk about religion with an open mind and with care, to converse.”
The first to believe was his brother-in-law, followed by his sister, mother and his little sister. Although the director still has not converted, this process has helped him approach these religious facts with a different outlook.
“After many years, or really an entire lifetime in which I did not oppose religion, but rather had a lack of interest, now, I enjoy listening to everything that has to do with history and religion. Yet, at the moment, I have not had a specific 'call' of conversion.”
Using humor and acceptance, the filmmaker tackles the complex religious and existential transformation of his own family. It is surely a challenge that the director has successfully overcome, in light of both the criticism and awards that this documentary has received.