Why was Danish filmmaker crucified in Pampanga?
Devotees and tourists go on a pilgrimage every year to San Pedro Cutud, Pampanga to witness one bold expression of faith among Catholics: the re-enactment of Jesus’ crucifixion. However, yesterday’s rights has caused international stir because one Danish man joined eight Filipinos nailed on the cross.
Danish filmmaker and stuntman Lasse Spang Olsen grimaced in pain as three stainless steel nails were hammered into his hands and feet. He then suffered through the agony for around 10 minutes before being helped down.
In an interview after the re-enactment, Olsen said that the pain of being nailed to the cross was unlike any he had ever experienced before. However, he said that it was ‘fantastic’ and a ‘great experience.’
Olsen revealed that as he was trying to conquer the pain and breathed deeply: ‘I felt completely changed.’
When asked why he wanted to go through the excruciating ritual, Olsen said that he had fallen sick twice in the past two years and that he had almost died because of that. He said that his participation was ‘a personal matter between me and (God).’
Foreigners had been restricted from joining the ritual since 2006 because past crucifixions of a Japanese and Austrian led to negative consequences. But tourism officer Ching Pangilinan clarified that the villagers allowed Olsen to join the ritual after the filmmaker showed them a waiver of liability from the Danish embassy.
Olsen had a camera fitted to his cross to capture his experience. The 48-year-old filmmaker had already made a film about the crucifixions in Pampanga two years ago featuring Ruben Enaje who was nailed beside him on Good Friday for the 28th time.
The clip of Olsen being nailed to the cross is set to be aired in Denmark’s national broadcast station DR.
Although highly popular among locals and tourists, the crucifixions in Pampanga during Holy Week are disapproved by the local Catholic Church and the Department of Health.