The Crime of Father Amaro
This film was apparently a wild success in Mexico because of its sensational depiction of the life of priests. But despite its excellent cast, the shallow writing makes its unconvincing. There are few film actors better than Gael García Bernal, but he has not a scene in which he reveals any inner struggle. Does this priest have convictions? conscience? Why is he a priest? He plunges into the first sex he’s offered without a second thought. SPOILER ALERT: And when the minor he has seduced — well, the seduction is mutual — when she becomes pregnant, this Catholic priest arranges an abortion for her. He also blackmails his pastor — not for money, for silence. When we find him praying fervently — to the Virgin, of course; this is Mexico — he is asking not for forgiveness but for a miracle to keep him out of trouble. His socially conscious priest friend, soon to be excommunicated, and the pastor’s cook (and bedmate) are the only two likeable characters.
This film is also known in English as The Crime of Padre Amaro.
VIVIEN LEIGH IN BANDARE-GAZ
“Auntie promised to take us to the only movie theater in the town…Auntie and Mom sat us in the middle and Gone With the Wind started.”
The passage is from The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines by Shohreh Aghdashloo, the beautiful Iranian actress who was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in House of Sand and Fog. “I had never seen anything like it before. This was definitely larger than life, let alone larger than cinema.” (Note the larger than cinema.) “The grandeur of the scenes, elaborately shot, had given birth to an epic…ííI was mesmerized by Scarlett’s love, perseverance, self-righteousness, and feistiness…Watching it then, in the modest town theater, made a huge impact on me. I realized how much I wanted to become a serious actress. Before I went to sleep that evening, to the sound of chirping critics, I made a vow. I promised myself that I was going to become an actress, no matter what…” The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines by Shohreh Aghdashloo, Harper, 2013
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NEXT POST Friday, June 27.
See you at the movies,