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Published on Sep 13, 2008
In Caracas, dozens of people are killed every week, victims of streetcrime. How do people protect themselves from this situation when the regular channels of safety and justice are not available to them? On of the phenomenon that has emerged in response to such extreme conditions is the rising devotion to the "Holy thugs". The Holy thugs are the latest "pantheon" to incorporate to the cult to Maria Lionza. It is comprised of thugs that were killed during the 60s but whose "deeds" somehow benefited their communities winning them a certain redemption within the local idiosincracies. "The Holy Thugs" is a portrayal of the lives of these men and women, specifically of their leader, Ismael. This documentary collects the testimonies of believers and experts, along with the stories of people who knew Ismael. Through their stories we get a glimpse of a cult that is gaining strength in a society where modernity and surrealism seem to go hand in hand.