The Romanian Orthodox Church is considering canonizing the monk Arsenie Boca, who lived from 1910 to 1989. But who was he, and why is his popularity on the rise? Alexandru Solomon is fascinated by this monk-theologian-artist, and organizes a pilgrimage especially for his film. He selects people who are accustomed to being in front of a camera—most of them are film extras registered at a casting bureau. Some believe in Boca, others do not.
What follows is a bus journey stopping off at various places that featured in the life of this almost-saint, and the “pilgrims” talking about what Boca means to them. The Romanian Secret Service built up a dossier on the monk over decades, and after reading extracts from it, the pilgrims re-enact scenes from his life. From this blend of fiction and fact emerges a picture of a far-from-holy figure.
With a light touch, this exploration of idolatry and the need for unshakeable faith shows how the believers in the group remain unswayed by the facts. Along the way, we see how this compulsion is ripe for exploitation by both commerce and the political extreme right.