(El Crimen del Padre Amaro)
Directed by Carlos Carrera. Mexico/Argentina/France/Spain. 2002.
Father Benito (Sancho Gracia) is his superior, and his main project is the building of a hospital, orphanage, and rest home. It is soon learned that Benito is having an affair with a local café proprietor Sanjuanera (Angélica Aragón) and has taken money from the area's major drug lord to finance the hospital. Benito is also a vocal opponent of the "good" priest, Father Natalio (Damían Alcázar) whose support of the peasants and their guerilla revolution stirs resentment from the church hierarchy.
When a reporter for the local paper is given photographs of Father Benito at a baptism with the drug kingpin, he writes an article alleging that the hospital is a front for laundering drug money. The bishop urges Father Amaro to write a rebuttal (i.e., a cover-up) in the paper saying that the funds came only from the church. Amaro then has an affair with the reporter's ex-girlfriend, Sanjuanera's young daughter Amelia (Ana Claudia Talancón), and in an awkward scene, the priest drapes her in a blue robe that has been designed for the local church's statue of the Virgin Mary. "You're more beautiful than the blessed virgin," he tells her. The result of this liaison is a scandal that rocks the church.
The Catholic Church has
called for a boycott of The Crime of Father Amaro on religious grounds.
Personally, I'm more concerned with its artistic transgressions. The film
provides little insight into the conflicting pressures that priests face
in today's world, and the characters are shallow and uninteresting. Given
recent headlines about sexual abuse, this issue could have been the focus
for an important film, but Carrera hits us over the head with his message
so often that the film ends up as manipulative melodrama, light years away
from the subtle ironic thrusts of a Buñuelian sword.
Book Reviews | About Us