Hot Docs Review: Death of a Saint (Patricia Bbaale Bandak, 2024)

When she was just a young child, Patricia Bbaale Bandak’s mother was killed on Christmas Eve. Years later, looking for a connection to her past, Bandak travels from her current home in Denmark to her birthplace of Uganda in the hope that she’ll learn more about the mother she never really knew and perhaps even find a deeper connection to the land she left behind.

At first, people she meets are reluctant to say anything about her mother, describing her as a saintly, practically perfect woman – one relative even describes her as being “like God,’ which certainly seems to be laying it on a little thick. As Patricia works to plan a memorial party, she continues to meet with her mother’s friends and relatives, finally coming across some who are willing to be a little more open about the truth of who her mom really was. And that’s when things eventually take a turn from her simply wanting to learn more about who her mother was into an investigation into why she was killed.

In the end, Bandak doesn’t necessarily get all of the answers she wants and even ends up with a few new questions, though she at least seems to have come away from the experience feeling a bit closer to her late mother. And while Death of a Saint may not provide an entirely satisfying conclusion for every aspect of its story, it’s a compelling look into one woman’s journey to discover more about her past.

Posted on by Paul in Hot Docs