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The Crime of Padre Amaro (2002)
The young Father Amaro is put to the test. He is sent to Mexico to help take care of aging Father Benito when he meets a 16-year-old girl that he begins and affair with. It turns out the girls mother had been having an affair with Father Benito. Father Amaro must soon choose between the holy or the sinful life.
You are watching: The Crime of Padre Amaro
Also starring Gael García Bernal
Also starring Ana Claudia Talancón
Also starring Sancho Gracia
Excellent Film---El Crimen Del Padre Amaro is a movie about corruption in the Catholic Church and the personal struggle of priests between obedience and temptation. Padre Amaro (Gael Garcia Bernal) is a young ambitious priest sent to a small town to work in his first church. Though he has a genuine passion to serve the spiritual needs of the people in his community, he soon discovers that the other priests are immersed in scandal, from breaking celibacy to hiding guerrillas to laundering money from powerful drug lords to controlling the media. It isn't long before he becomes entangled in his own scandal: a love affair with a devout young woman (played by Ana Claudia Talancón) caught up in her own struggle between religious obedience and the temptations of the flesh.This film does an excellent job of capturing the complexity of human emotion. Much of the action takes place within the characters, which is conveyed through excellent acting and careful attention to detail on the part of the director and cameramen. One of the things the director mentioned in the DVD's director commentary was how he tried to capture the glances of actors, along with their facial expressions. Facial expressions were especially informative during the many close-up shots. This created a very intimate and emotional tone.Bernal delivers a compelling performance of deep internal struggle - private, complex, and emotional – between ambition and love, loyalty to the Church and uneasiness with corruption, and how to deal with a variety moral dilemmas. Is laundering money okay if you use it for a good cause? Is guerrilla warfare justified if you are fighting a criminal oppressor? How do you reconcile between duty to the (corrupt) church and devotion to its teachings? When is abortion justified? Ultimately, the real "crime" of Father Amaro is not the obvious breaking of his celibacy. His crime is his loyalty to a corrupt church rather than his own values, continuously running away and hiding from his situation instead of dealing with it, and letting his ambition get in the way of everything else that mattered to him.
Corruption spreads like a disease.---Carlos Carrera made the controversial film, El crimen del Padre Amaro, to expose the corruption and hypocrisy of the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico. He wants his target audience of Latin Americans to understand that priests are merely human. Carrera casts the handsome Gael Garcia Bernal as Padre Amaro. The people in the film, as well as the audience, are drawn by his looks and inadvertently view him as a good person. In the beginning, the director portrays Amaro as selfless through the shot of him giving money to the man on the bus. Carrera reveals that Amaro's life is about to change as he zooms in on the wheels driving over the rocky, muddy road. Shortly after arriving in Los Reyes, the corruption begins to infiltrate Amaro's character. Following in the bishop's unscrupulous footsteps, Amaro threatens the newspaper into printing the church's "story" and he gets the journalist fired for printing the truth about the church accepting laundered drug money. Amaro becomes desensitized through the sins he witnesses. He sees Padre Benito violating his celibacy with Sanjuanera and, ironically, he violates his own celibacy with her daughter Amelia. In an attempt to cover his own sins, he is responsible for destroying Amelia's life. The final scene is amazing. Carrera films Padre Amaro at the pulpit during Amelia's funeral service and then he slowly retracts the camera down the long aisle. The camera-work is smooth and pans the whole congregation from behind. The angle and technique renders a sense of continuous corruption of one lie after another.An interesting aspect that Carrera brought into this melodrama was a sense of authenticity through the use of non-actors as townspeople. Another "noteworthy" feature is that he uses very little music in this film. Instead, he uses sounds that are more organic, which enables the audience to sense God.
When Sensuality and Spirituality Combine Passions---The release of the film THE CRIME OF PADRE AMARO caused about as much of an uproar in Mexico in 2002 as the publication of the novel, written by Jose Maria Eca de Queiroz, caused in 1875. With its dangerously intertwining themes of spiritual ecstasy and sexual passion, it's not hard to see why. At the heart of the story is a young priest who wrestles in a major way with the tempting hungers of his body and the grace-filled yearnings of his spirit. It does not help that, to pursue his vocation, he is sent to a town sustained by a culture of corruption.One thing actor Gael Garcia Bernal does not know how to do is give a bad performance, and in the movie's title role he captures brilliantly all the agonizing ambiguity that comes with being a young adult male intent on asserting his masculinity while also serving the spiritual needs of his community. Unfortunately, his happily deluded demeanor meets with an equally intense personality in the form of Amelia, a devout young devotee acted with mesmerizing perfection by the gorgeous Ana Claudia Talancon. Amelia idolizes the young priest as a true and noble holy man whose sexuality is made sacred by his presumably pure soul. He in turn dares to drape her in a cape reserved for representations of the Madonna and recites to her from Solomon's "Song of Songs" as they seduce each other. Controversial? Better believe it.As in the film THE HEALER (please see companion review) "The Crime of Padre Amaro" depicts sexuality and spirituality as equally powerful forces of attraction capable of producing very different results, which will not be revealed here. The outcome in "The Crime of Padre Amaro" is shocking in more ways than one and well worth contemplating for a long time.by Author-Poet Aberjhani, author of "Christmas When Music Almost Killed the World"
Mexico in the middle of a film renaissance...---For many priests, celibacy is a true vocation which liberates them... For others, it is a lifelong struggle... If celibacy was made voluntary, not only would many priests be happier, but the Church would be richer... Above all, it might decide the only way to restore the numbers of the priesthood, and that seems to me not a bad idea...In "The Crime of Father Amaro," the top film in Mexican box-office history, Carlos Carrera shows that even a man with morals and scruples betrays the nature of his profession, mostly when he brazenly criticizes the priesthood, and questions the Catholic Church's representatives on a variety of charges like illicit love affair, corruption, drug dealing, and hypocrisy...The story takes a liberal priest, Father Amaro(Gael Garcia Bernal), protégé of a repulsive obese bishop (Ernesto Gomez Cruz), to the remote dusty village of Los Reyes to assist the older priest of the parish Father Benito (Sancho Gracia) in his daily work...Amaro quickly realizes that virtually every fellow priest is involved in something immoral, and that his aging superior is receiving financial help from the region's drug lord for the construction of a new church-run hospital, and is secretly spending his cold nights with the proprietress of a local restaurant Augustina (Anjelica Aragón). He also discovers that Father Natalio (Damian Alcazar) is suspected of aiding the revolutionary factions in opposing the drug lords and mobsters...Amaro's own weaknesses is put to the test when he finds himself led into temptation by Augustina 's extremely sensual teenager Amelia (Ana Claudia Talancón) a relationship that eventually goes way outside the bounds of his priestly oath... and, without any sign of inner turmoil, he embarks on a passionate affair with the devout catechism teacher...Amalia?for whom loving a young priest serves as an extension of her deep piety?decides that the good-looking priest is the one for her and rejects her disappointed boyfriend, the aggressive reporter Ruben (Andres Montiel) who wrote an article alleging that the hospital is a front for laundering drug money...The polemical film focuses on blasphemous scenes as on a vicious priest who stops at nothing, even by continuing the lies and hypocrisy to protect his career...
What it had to say...---I enjoyed this movie, not because it was gripping or exciting, but because of what it had to say.I'm not completely aware of everything to do with the Catholic Church, but the controversy in this movie is a necessary one.I've never seen a Gael Garcia movie before and I thought this was good. The most powerful part of the movie is what it leaves you with - the message at the end; the themes of confession, of sin, of mistakes, of being human.If you can't watch something that is quite slow and is not edge of the seat stuff, then forget it. Even the music isn't very memorable. But the movie stuck in my mind.
Soap Opera Wrapped In Some Political and Social Commentary---"The Crime of Father Amaro (El Crimen del padre Amaro)" is half-way between "The Thorn Birds" and the current scandals sweeping the Catholic Church in the U.S. It examines the slippery slope of morality among priests in Mexico as each makes decisions based on perceptions of personal ambition and community needs, including inflated notions of where that intersects.Into a rural nest of accomodationist parish priests, who have made deals with drug dealers, guerrillas and local politician (who rues that the "black politics" of the cassock-wearers is the worst), comes straight from the seminary young, hunky Gael García Bernal (of "Amores Perros" and "Y Tu Mama Tambien") with instructions from his very political bishop to read them the riot act. The young padre sees only the sins and not the community benefits, and gets attracted to the dark side, giving in to his selfish lust.The sex is pretty plain vanilla heterosexual (the elders keep calling her a child, but she was of marriageable age with her boyfriend, so I guess they're using that as a synonym for virgin), compared to the current scandals. What makes it different from the usual soap operas is showing how the sensuality of the church's rituals heightens the sinners' attraction, as he wraps her in the robes of the Virgin and recites "The Song of Songs" for seduction, while she (a "wafer-eater" as her ex-boyfriend's father mocks her) is specifically in love with him as a priest. When he consults about abortion morality with the liberationist theologian to whom he has brought excommunication orders, he gets a blank look and a practical response: "That's not an issue in this parish. Is it in yours?" But these serious issues are overwhelmed by the soap opera (the movie is based on an 1875 novel), and we mostly see "Amaro"s passions and desperate, self-serving actions, like praying for a miracle to save his career, not his character changes.(originally written 12/16/2002)
Be prepared to have your stomach turn.---I am not Catholic, so my description of this movie may offend some people. "El crimen del padre Amaro" (called "The Crime of Father Amaro" in English) portrays newly ordained priest Amaro (Gael Garcia Bernal) getting pulled in several directions in a small Mexican town. The most prominent is a simmering desire to have sex with the dazzling Amelia (Ana Claudia Talancon). Finally, it all comes crashing down...irrevocably.The Catholic Church was of course disturbed by this movie, but any religious group is likely to get unnerved by any movie that takes a gut-wrenching look at their religion. I certainly thought that the movie does a good job looking at guilt and other such things. But mind you, this is not a movie for the squeamish.
Great Script---In my opinion, the best thing about El Crimen del Padre Amaro is Vicente Le?ero's script - updating a story from 1875 without losing the magic scenes created by E?a de Queiroz so long ago. Gael Garcia Bernal keeps proving that his talent is solid and we can expect much more from him in the future. Another good surprise is Ana Claudia Talancón, not only for her astonishing beauty, but also for a great performance as Amelia. The cast is very good and the plot, yet polemical, gives a lot to think. Again, by updating the old Portuguese story to a contemporary Mexico and inserting current issues like the relation between church and drug dealers, El Crimen del Padre Amaro raises some relevant questions about celibate, religious ethics and hypocrisy. As written in 1875, "loneliness is the greatest sin".
Catholic Church Corruption in Mexico---Crimen del Padre AmaroThe film Crimen del Padre Amaro is set in Los Reyes, Mexico in 2002. In Mexico by 2002, a continuing economic, political, and social crisis was spiraling deeper and deeper. The chaos was caused by a debt problem and the system of dependent capitalism the debt produced. "Between 1994 and 2000 average wages declined 21 percent" (Keen 317). By 2002, Mexico had become more and more dependent primarily upon the United States, its foreign export, and its investment-capital markets. Despite these setbacks, Mexicans always had something to fall back upon and to look to for support: the Catholic Church.The Catholic Church is the main focus in the movie Crimen del Padre Amaro. There are no specific events that occurred within the movie that occurred in real Mexican history; however the events that do occur are believable and likely happened. Within the film, Padre Benito is taking money donations from a local drug lord to help fund a new hospital. Since there are many drug lords in Mexico it is not unbelievable that two of the most powerful groups in Mexico are the drug lords and the Church officials. It makes sense that they would overlap at some point, however I am sure that this scenario does not occur in all areas of Mexico. The director could have made it a little clearer that the drug lord was an actual drug lord; it was a little confusing with the mayor and the drug lord to keep each person separate. Another point of corruption within the Church is the fact that both Padre Benito and Padre Amaro have sexual relations with females despite their celibacy vows. This is not surprising at all, since it has become public knowledge that many Catholic priests have had sexual relations with people in recent years. The director could have shown more of the economic crisis and guerrilla warfare situations more, because they were a little confusing if one did not know or look into what was going on in Mexico in 2002.The film is well made and attention-grabbing. The plot is a little confusing at first, as most movies are, however it all becomes much clearer and focused as the movie continues. In the beginning of the movie, Padre Amaro is seen as the good guy, who everyone wanted to succeed; however, by the end of the film, I looked upon Padre Amaro with complete disgust. Ironically, Padre Benito, I felt, was a horrible, corrupt priest in the beginning, and by the end I liked him much more than ever before. Padre Amaro was so young and yet he ended up being the most selfish and corrupt of all the priests in the community. Crimen del Padre Amaro is a very interesting film that is entertaining and worth watching to see what modern-day rural Mexico is like.The film Crimen del Padre Amaro shows an interesting outlook of the Catholic Church and the corruption that exists within the Church in Mexico. It is very gripping and definitely worth watching. Although there are parts that can be confusing, it is fascinating to see how rural and "backward" parts of Mexican life can be. I would recommend viewing this movie and on a scale of 1-10, I would give it a 7.Works Cited: Keen, Benjamin and Keith Haynes: A History of Latin America. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.
the true crime of padre Amaro---The movie is not about how evil or backward the Roman Catholic Church is, it is about the personal weakness of an ambitious young man who succumbs to lust, yet does not give up his dream of becoming the local bishop. AMARO IS NOT A VICTIM, of all sinful characters of the story, he is the MOST SINFUL. He betrayed everyone: he got his lover killed, his lover's boyfriend fired, the sexton with the disabled daughter thrown out of his home, he almost had the older priest dead, he even accused the previous boyfriend of having knocked up the girl. Amaro IS a despicable person and that is what the whole movie is about: how some men do not stand to their duty.