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El Crimen del Padre Amaro

That's Padre Amaro on the left. The girl on the right is the beautiful Mexican actress Ana Claudia Talancón, who plays Padre Amaro's girl Amelia.

Kissing a girl (or having a girlfriend for that matter) was not the crime of Padre Amaro. Neither was it getting Amelia pregnant. Nor was it the failed abortion that killed her.

The corruption of priests is nothing new in our culture. The Philippines' so-called national novel Noli Me Tangere already discussed that. But this is a twenty-first century film, and to see it happening right here in our own time may cause some stirs in religious circles. As in fact it did, when conservative Catholic groups in Mexico rallied for the film not to be shown in theaters. Of course they lost, and El Crimen del padre Amaro is now the highest-grossing film in Mexican box office history. Maybe they should've just kept their mouths shut.

The film shows how priests really look like under all those robes and vestments. They are flesh and blood like all of us. They are humans. And like humans, they too have needs. There's Padre Natalio, the bearded one, more at home among guerrillas and peasants than on the altar saying Mass. Then there's Padre Benito, whose many faults include the following: lies, deceit, associating with known criminals, and using drug money to construct the community hospital. Oh, and I almost forgot─he's had a women in his bed for several years now.

Of course, Padre Amaro is no different. With a face like Gael García Bernal's, what single, attractive lady wouldn't stare at him while he's up in the altar? The film shows us that temptation is around us. Always has been, and always will be. It's up to us if we want to transcend our own humanity.

The storytelling of the movie is a bit slow, but the writer's intention is clear, although Carlos Carrera's direction tends to slow down the film's momentum. But that's no problem really, as one could argue that the sluggish pace is keeping true to how time really flies in the Mexican countryside─slow and steady, with plenty of room to err. In the acting department, however, Gael doesn't really give us an outstanding performance. Although I have no doubt about Gael's acting abilities, his performance as Padre Amaro is good, but not great. Believable, but not excellent. You get my point.

So don't go blaming it all on Padre Amaro. The crime of Padre Amaro is the crime of all priests─being human, surrounded by temptation, and not having the balls to resist them.

Rating: Seven out of ten.


tina said...

wow. old film. until now i thought you guys only reviewed recent films... ^^

could you guys review wong kar wai films? i saw "my blueberry nights" just a while ago, the scenes were just pure eye candy *.* awesomeness. the title is a bit iffy, though... it reminds me of those english phrases on cheap chinese merchandise that probably sound cool to chinese ears, but not to others'. XP

yes, i actually try to review everything i watch, old and new alike.

and since you're one of our best customers (haha), and since i love eye candy movies, i will do a wong kar wai film for you. but first i have to find a copy. :-)

tina said...

you look like francis brew in your photo :D harhar.

i got interested in wong kar wai's work 'cause one of my classmates in cw is a film major, and she recommended his films. preferably with the sound off, 'cause apparently dialogue isn't his strong point. XP maybe he should do more english movies? the dialogue for "my blueberry nights" is ok, a little contrived but not mushy. ^^

how about flowers of shanghai? i think that's one of his more famous movies, you might have an easier time looking for that one. :D

actually i was also an ex-film major and i've already seen Chungking Express. plus a little of 2046. but i'll try to find that flowers of shanghai.

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