Chico Xavier is one of those public figures that linger in a country’s memory. His image is personal to all of Brazil, and even though it can be said he was very exposed by the media, his life could not be more of a mystery.
The movie ‘As Vidas de Chico Xavier‘ (The Lives of Chico Xavier) tells the story of his life, and tries to explain what kind of person he was. Chico was a medium, he could hear and see what no one else could and, as surprising as it sounds, people believed his skill to be legitimate.
Chico was disturbed by ghosts since he was really young; his mother, who died when he was still a young child, used to visit him to calm down his nerves when he was abused by his godmother. When he got older, he was visited by his spiritual guide Emmanuel, who went on to accompany him throughout his whole life.
From that point on Chico worked by day and wrote down books whispered by spirits by night. Emmanuel assured him that was his mission in life – along with helping those who searched for his talents.
Throughout the movie, Chico is seen writing down letters dictated by spirits who wished to carry a message to their loved ones who are still alive. His fame gradually grew – however, Chico never took any donations or money offered by those he helped. And although he wrote down and published over 400 books, he never took any of the money gained by the overwhelming sales of his publications – Chico worked to sustain himself his whole life and donated the gains of his books to charity.
The movie is a set of flashbacks of Chico’s life. It is mainly set on the night he was interviewed live in a national network, in the programme ‘Pinga Fogo’ (something along the lines of Dropping/Dripping Fire), that at the time got unprecedented viewer ratings. The whole nation was watching.
When the movie begins, the production crew is seen asking each other what they think of Chico and his claims. “I don’t believe it”, one of them says, “But there’s something there…“. Another one says, “Pfft, no, I don’t believe it.”
By the end of the interview, when Chico is writing something dictated by a spirit, the first man, clutching his hands together, watching the whole affair tensely, asks, “But you really don’t believe him…?”
There is something unexplainable about the essence of Chico Xavier. Something all people who know about him are unable to ignore… and yet it cannot quite be pointed out. Something that makes you believe, no matter what religion you believe in.
A letter, written by his hand and signed by a dead man, was used in court as a key piece of evidence to clear all charges against the accused. The dead man wrote a letter to his parents – through Chico – explaining, amongst other things, that it was all an accident that occured when he and his friends were playing with a gun.
The letter was submitted by the dead man’s parents themselves. The father, asked if he believed in spiritism when testifying, said “No. I am an atheist. It is difficult for a parent to look at his son’s killer and ask for him to be released but – I don’t know what this phenomenon is, or how it happened – but I believe this letter was written by my son.”
“The dead man has cleared all charges against his murderer!”, announced the reporter in the movie.
Although this movie is about Chico’s life, and his dedication to spiritism, it must be said that he was a man full of love and understanding. He helped anyone who asked, and even though he was taunted and mocked for years, he managed to help more people than he probably expected. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1981.
Chico Xavier’s spiritual guide said he would die on the day the whole of Brazil was happy. He died at age 92, on 30th of June, 2002; the day Brazil won the World Cup for the fifth time.
This movie – although you will probably not enjoy that it is not in English – is a great way to try to understand Chico Xavier and how his personality managed to convice a whole country that ghosts exist. Definitely recommended.
“Though nobody can go back and make a new beginning… Anyone can start over and make a new ending.”