Nine years ago, the people in Hawaii were looking forward to the new move based on our beloved Kamiano. The movie that premiered after a lot of hoopla and excitement was just what we had been hoping for, a movie that truly depicted the Man of Moloka'i , the one who gave his life for a friend.
This 1999 movie introduced a young Australian actor David Wenham who went on to fame as Faromir of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. In the movie, he really gives a striking performance as Father Damien de Veuster (formerly Joseph de Veuster) the young Belgian priest who volunteered to go to the remote place of Kalawao...the infamous leper colony on the island of Moloka'i. The area is still so isolated that in order to reach it, one must go down by mule.
The movie for a Catholic living in Hawaii, was interesting because we got to see scenes we are familiar with such as the ordination of Father Damien in the Cathedral. This is the Cathedral that we visit on a regular basis and yet a saint was ordained a priest there!! There is a plaque on the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace that states the date that Fr. Damien was ordained a priest.
In the movie, it is also very interesting to see two future saints together. One is Blessed Damien of course, and the other is Blessed Marianne Cope, here played by that talented actor Alice Kriege. Both are close to canonization and then there will be two saints from Hawaii.
The movie is at some times not easy to see. There are scenes that will break your heart for the heartless ways the victims of Hanson's Disease were treated. Another scene that is unforgettable is the way Fr. Damien is humiliated when he has to humbly make his confession by having to shout to the Bishop on the ship.
It is a movie that will stay with you a long time.
I encourage you to read a wonderful article about David Wenham and the part he played as Fr. Damien Fr Damien role is ‘uplifting’ – actor from Catholic Weekly.
David Wenham will never forget the leper colony of Molokai in Hawaii.You can watch the trailer here
“Seeing people with no hands, no skin and no thumbs … it was a life changing experience,” says the award-winning Sydney actor.