Hallelujah! Ron Athey: A Story of Deliverance (1997, 90 min)
Director: Catherine Gund in collaboration with Ron Athey
Producer: Catherine Gund in collaboration with Ron Athey
“Fascinating... Not to be missed!” - Village Voice (included in top 10 of 1998)
“Brilliantly evocative... terrific... a real gift... Many a film have been made by one artist about another; few are as fine a mutual collaboration as Hallelujah!” - H/X
"Engrossing... a celebration of a community forged of misfits and outcasts..." - LA Weekly
“Contrary to many films on similar subjects, which tend to dwell ghoulishly on the pain and bloodletting of the performances without getting close to the motivation for it, Saalfield coaxes quite articulate responses from Athey and his stage company, indicating that the work is not just about shocking the audience but about dealing with his life”. - Variety
Raised by his grandmother to be a Pentecostal minister, Ron Athey was speaking in tongues by the age of ten, a heroin addict by seventeen, and a performance artist by twenty-three. An HIV-positive gay man, Athey practices sadomasochistic ritual as a personal religion, using it as a means of transcendence. Hallelujah! presents Athey's life and work, spending time with him on and off the stage in Mexico City, Zagreb, and Los Angeles. Using an intimate hand-held, Hi-8 camera style, Hallelujah! combines at home verite footage and interviews with scenes from Athey's trilogy: Martyrs and Saints, Four Scenes in a Harsh Life, and Deliverance.