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Crime of Father Amaro (The)

The Catholic Church is composed of people that make mistakes and commit crimes. They are human and their actions must be considered, says Mexican filmmaker Carlos Carrera, director of The Crime of Father Amaro.

The controversial film, which was nominated for a Golden Globe, stars Gael Garcia Bernaz as a young priest who comes to a small Mexican town and falls in love with Amelia (Ana Claudia Talancón), a 16-year old girl. While he grapples with his forbidden love, Father Amaro soon gets embroiled in bigger problems when he discovers that his parish is a hotbed of corruption.

Carrera's film is an adaptation of a novel that was written in 1875. Yet, rather than make a period piece, the director deliberately chose to set the film in 2002 because I wanted to talk about things that happen in Mexico today. I wanted to talk about hypocrisy and the Catholic Church in our day, not the past, he says.

The film certainly got the attention of the church when it was released in his homeland. Many theaters had demonstrations with banners, Carrera recalls. The protestors worked against what they wanted to ban the film because they got huge publicity, and their promotional campaigns helped the film.

Yet for Carrera, it was his strong anti-church attitude that spurred him to take on the project. I was raised Catholic, he explains. I grew up in a traditional Catholic family, and attended Catholic schools. I am Catholic, but I am not practicing.

I was advised by a Jesuit, and he told me many of the dialogues of the bishop in the film are real dialogues, Carrera says, suggesting that The Crime of Father Amaro is closer to reality than to fiction. But the director also clarifies that the purpose of his film is not so much to expose the church for its failing as it is to create a dialogue about how to handle it.

I think the importance of the movie is to talk about corruption in Mexico. Everyone knows about these problems, but it is very healthy to talk about these problems in order to improve things, Carrera says.

The Crime of Father Amaro is also notable for its outstanding performances and solid direction. Carrera pays tribute to the tradition of Mexican melodramas, but he also infuses his film with moments of humor, making fun of his characters at various times.

From LasVegas Weekly - see link below for complete review.

Director(s): Carlos Carrera
Writer(s): Unknown
Cast: Gael Garcia Bernaz, Ana Claudia Talancón, Sancho Gracia
Release Date: 2002   
Keyword: catholic church, mexico, problem priests, celibacy
Target Age: Over 18   Category: other
Documentary: no
Language: Spanish   Reviewer's Name: Polly Strand

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