Memories of a Penitent Heart is a documentary in the making about "love, God, and inequality." On Thursday, June 20, director Cecilia Aldarondo will be hosting a discussion about the film's themes, as well as viewing an excerpt from the film. The event will be free and open to the public at Most Holy Redeemer Church in San Francisco, California.
The documentary is based on an investigation the life of Cecilia Aldarondo's late uncle, Miguel Dieppa.
It is April 1987. Miguel ‘Mickey’ Dieppa, a 31-year-old Puerto Rican with dreams of making it big on Broadway, is lying in a bed in New York Presbyterian Hospital. He may or may not be dying of AIDS—his symptoms are mysterious, and he’s never been tested. His mother Carmen, a devout Catholic, begs him to repent of his homosexuality and receive Holy Communion. Miguel agrees. A few days later, he dies—it is Easter Sunday. Carmen is convinced it is a miracle. Not only has her son’s soul been spared, but he has also been resurrected alongside Jesus Christ.In MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART, director Cecilia Aldarondo investigates her uncle’s deathbed repentance. She charts Miguel’s illness and talks to his doctors. She reckons with her grandmother’s faith by digging up Carmen’s religious radio program and interviewing the priests and nuns who knew her best. Most importantly, Cecilia searches for Miguel’s live-in partner Robert, in an attempt to hear his side of the story. Chasing the rumor mill, she travels to Puerto Rico, New York, California, Florida, and Virginia, trying to figure out what everyone lost in that hospital room back in 1987.