Pilgrims Seek a Vision of the Virgin Mary in Engaging Doc ‘Apparition Hill’


Apparition Hill is more than a documentary — it’s practically an infomercial. It’s all about showing us how amazing and awe-inspiring is its titular hill, located in Bosnia and Herzegovina town Medjugorje, as seven strangers make a pilgrimage in hopes of seeing the Virgin Mary, who is said to appear every month. These strangers were brought together by filmmaker Sean Broomfield, who organized a video contest whose reward was an all-expenses-paid trip to this land of wonder.

As much as Broomfield reminds us, either through voice-over or just capturing the visual beauteousness of the area, that Medjugorje is a place where people can have their lives changed, he also thankfully focuses a lot of time on his fellow travelers. There are, of course, a couple of atheists who are open-minded enough to make the journey. There’s a drug addict trying to get his life together. And, most heartbreakingly, there’s a woman suffering from cancer, looking for one last miracle.

By following these people and their different, personal journeys, Apparition Hill becomes less about seeing a heavenly vision and more about folks finding peace in their lives before they shuffle off this mortal coil. It is fascinating seeing people come to a holy place — a place that’s more about love and spirituality than religion — with their hearts and minds open, just looking for guidance. And whether you believe in God or not, isn’t that what we all want?

Apparition Hill
Directed by Sean Broomfield
Opens November 25, Cinema Village