Danish filmmaker star of Philippines crucifixion

A Danish filmmaker stole the limelight in the Philippines city of Pampanga when he showed up to be crucified in the barangay of San Pedro Cutud on Good Friday.

Lasse Spang Olsen, 48, arrived in the Southeast Asian island nation several years ago to shoot a movie on the Lenten practices, and on Friday he, along with nine locals, decided to give being crucified a go himself.

The Dane was given the green light by organisers to be part of the ritual after the Danish embassy granted him a waiver of liability, revealed city tourism officer Ching Pangilinana. He said that foreigners are usually not permitted to take part because of potential negative publicity.

In 2006, a UK citizen attracted international attention by revealing his intention to be part of the traditional crucifixions only to pull out at the last moment. In other incidences, an Australian man was crucified for a comedy movie, while a Japanese man partook in the ritual as part of a porn film.

Olsen, who had a crown made of thorns on his head and a white cloth wrapped round his waist as well as a camera hanging round his neck, kept his eyes shut and grimaced throughout the ordeal but remained silent. His cross was raised and stood erect for several minutes before the costumed centurions lowered him back down. He later referred to his crucifixion as a “great experience”.

Roughly 40,000 spectators watched the crucifixions on Friday. Locals regard the event as a key feature in the Philippines calendar, despite the fact the Catholic Church discourages what happens during the fiesta.

Among the other rituals carried out are participants crawling on rough pavements, being whipped until blood is drawn, and carrying wooden crosses. They hope that such acts will result in them being forgiven for their sins as well as show gratitude to those who have been good to them.