Film Screening and Discussion of “If I Give My Soul: Pentecostalism in Rio’s Prisons” with filmmaker Andrew Johnson
The documentary “If I Give My Soul” began the day co-director Andrew Johnson checked into a Brazilian prison, where he would spend two weeks living as if he were incarcerated in an effort to see prison from an inmate’s perspective. During this process, Andrew was brought face-to-face with two powerful forces in the prisons: narco-trafficking gangs, and Pentecostal Christianity.
In stories that have not been told and in locations that have never been filmed, “If I Give My Soul” examines how five Brazilian prisoners have coped with both Brazil’s profound inequality as well as the brutal injustice of Rio’s justice system. As members of Pentecostal Christian congregations in their respective prisons.
Through these inmates’ experiences, the film explores their journeys from hardened criminal, through conversion in prison, and to their release back into society. If I Give My Soul uses social science methods and first-hand experience to investigate if this religion is an escape and balm from the oppressive conditions of prisons, an elaborate show for the guards and justice system, or if their faith and experience represent something more.