In the town of Sittard in the Dutch province of Zuid-Limburg, the tradition of the procession of St Rosa on the last Sunday in August is over 300 years old. St Rosa is the patron saint of the town. When filmmaker Hans Heijen, who was born, baptised and raised in Sittard, was reacquainted with the procession, he was amazed that the spiritual life in Sittard is still so visible in the streets of the town. Nuns, priests, the curate in black dress and white collar, the deacon: the Roman Catholic church seems immutable. At the same time, the majority of the onlookers plainly consider the St Rosa procession as folklore rather than a religious expression.
The older church establishment does what it can and adapts as much as possible to modern ways. The younger generation, however, is still idealistic. A 29-year-old curate and a 38-year-old novice nun, even though they are from a non-religious background, strive for a pure experience of the faith, meaning that they strictly observe the rules of the church. The established spiritual order, in the eyes of the critical youngsters, only indulges in folklore.
Hans Heijnen was born in 1957 in Sittard. He studied political science and in 1981 he went to study at the Dutch Film Academy; he graduated in 1985. He wrote various filmscripts for the EAFA and First Floor Features. Since 1988 Hans Heijnen is working as a freelance-documentary filmmaker voor NOS/NPS and VPRO. After two nominations he received a Golden Calf for is Documentary works at the Dutch Film Festival. (1996). In 1999 he won the Silver Spire Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival for his documentary: “Lisdoonvarna, Lourdes of Love”. In september 2000 the Dutch Film Festival held a retrospective of his films which show the life of people in rural areas, which is a theme in his work.
In co-production with Dutch Cultural Broadcaster IKON. With the support from Dutch Cultural Broadcasting Fund.
Director of Photography, Erik van Empel; Sound, Alex Booy; Editor, Bouke Valh; Sounddesign, Alex Booy; Production, Maja Trivanovic.