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Plot:

Recently ordained a priest, 24-year-old Father Amaro is sent to a small parish church in Los Reyes, Mexico to assist the aging Father Benito in his daily work. Benito–for years a fixture in the church as well as the community–welcomes Father Amaro into a new life of unseen challenges. Upon arriving in Los Reyes, the ambitious Father Amaro meets Amelia, a beautiful 16-year-old girl whose religious devotion soon becomes helplessly entangles in a growing attraction to the new priest. Amelia is quickly following into the footsteps of her mother, Sanjuanera, who has been engaged in a long-time affair with Father Benito. Amaro soon discovers that corruption and the Church are old acquaintances in Los Reyes. Father Benito has been receiving financial help from the region’s drug lord for the construction of a new health clinic. As well, another priest in the diocese, Father Natalio, is suspected of assisting guerilla troops in the highlands. Maenwhile, Amelia and Father Amaro have fallen in love and have begun a passionate sexual relationship. As things become increasingly more complicated in the small community, the walls around Father Amaro begin to crumble. Torn between the divine and the carnal, the righteous and the unjust, Father Amaro must summon his strength to choose which life he will lead.

Also Known As: Pater Amaros forbrydelse, El crimen del padre Amaro, Die Versuchung des Padre Amaro, The Crime of Padre Amaro, Il crimine di padre Amaro, O Crime do Padre Amaro, Το Πάθος του Πατέρα Αμάρο, Le crime du père Amaro, Didžioji kunigo Amaro nuodeme, Fader Amaros synder, Günah, The Crime of Father Amaro, Isä Amaron rikos, To pathos tou patera Amaro, Zbrodnia ojca Amaro, Тайна отца Амаро, Amaro atya bűne, Престъплението на отец Амаро, El crimen del Padre Amaro

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  • artur-barbosa
    artur barbosa

    (WARNING: SPOILERS)EL CRIMEN DEL PADRE AMARO is a film whose impact in Mexico a norteamericano like me can only imagine — even though when I saw it in Berkeley a lot of the audience members were Latino. This is a powerful picture of the Catholic church, with a corrupt bishop who’s little different from a drug lord, a parish priest who’s been having an affair with an older woman and laundering the narcos’ money to build a hospital, a young muckraking reporter who gets railroaded out of town, and at the center of it all a young priest who deflowers an innocent young over-religious virgin girl and prods her to get an abortion that leads to her death — and gets away with it. And they all do. They all get away with it.EL CRIMEN DEL PADRE AMARO seems superficially conventional and ordinary but in fact it’s not so conventional or ordinary as all that. True, it’s simple and schematic, beginning with big close-ups of the faces of the principals, neatly outlined scenes, music (nice music, though) that comes in loudly at key points. The elements of the story are laid out bluntly enough: there’s something generic about the cynical mayor, the saintly country priest who helps the campesinos fight the narcos and the state police and gets accused of supporting guerrillas and finally excommunicated for not towing the line, the fourth priest who’s a fat man whose whole joy is eating and drinking. The plot is boldly developed. Nothing is ambiguous.But to begin with it’s really all much too well done to call conventional, and it stars the biggest young actor in Mexico, the 24-year-old Gael García Bernal, who has just appeared in the two most powerful and brilliant Mexican movies of recent years, AMORES PERROS (2000) and Y TU MAMÁ TAMBIÉN (2001). Bernal’s presence alone commands a degree of attention for the movie that is not ordinary or conventional.The plot of EL CRIMEN DEL PADRE AMARO recalls somewhat the classic polarities of the Italian Giovanni Guareschi’s 1950’s `Don Camillo’ books (celebrated in a Fernandel film and four sequels 1951-65) – the parish priest, the communist mayor, the pious old ladies, the plotters and busybodies, the everyday people subject to life’s common temptations, greed, love, and lust. But this story, though based on a 19th century Portuguese novel by Eça de Queirós, has been transformed by Mexican director Carlos Carrera (himself, like Bernal, a meteoric young talent in Mexico) into a more serious and hard edged depiction of the very latest Latin American issues – narcos and municipios preying on campesinos, widespread ecclesiastical and secular corruption, media repression. Guareschi’s peccadillos have been upgraded to full-fledged mortal sins and civil and personal disasters — ruined lives, blackmail, wrongful deaths, murders and assassinations.Bernal, who plays Padre Amaro, the newly anointed priest whose arrival in town starts the action, was notable in Y TU MAMÁ TAMBIÉN and AMORES PERROS for a charming smile and an infectious giggle that could instantly turn into over-the-top hilarity. The source of his strong screen presence seemed to be the way he radiated a sense of wild, good-natured fun, and he and his real-life friend Diego Luna played off each other magically in Y TU MAMÁ. This time there’s no sidekick and no hilarity, only a honeyed look of sweetness and a superficially cooperative manner that conceals a steel will, an ability to maintain a deadpan mask of goodness while executing the pragmatic bishop’s most draconian orders and simultaneously covering his own ass. Though his flesh is weak when it comes to the young virgin he deflowers, Padre Amaro’s `vocation’ takes precedence over his love affair. He knows how to play the system. We see that he’ll go far. He’s an agile survivor who never hesitates: in this movie, nobody does. This is a story about how things work, not about doubts. Lots of wrongs get done, and everybody gets away with it — except for the poor young girl.What is least conventional about this superficially conventional film is that there’s no catharsis offered, no emotional purgation, no satisfying reward or punishment or two-handkerchief ending. In the final scene Padre Amaro is leading a service in honor of the young woman whose death he has just caused. He seems eloquent, authoritative, convincing. His angelic young face, which reveals nothing of his true nature as he conducts the service, comes to haunt you, because there’s really from start to finish nothing to like about him other than his soft looks and ingratiating manner. This `padrecito’ is a b**tard, a cabrón, an a**hole. EL CRIMEN is a movie with a totally unsympathetic protagonist, one you can’t identify with for a minute. No catharsis there — unless you’re so cynical that to see hypocrisy triumph leaves you feeling satisfied.EL CRIMEN DEL PADRE AMARO creates the `Alienation Effect’ (Verfremdungseffekt) the great German playwright Bertolt Brecht specialized in – the quality of giving the audience nothing gratifying to identify with and thus forcing its members to think hard about the subject the play (or in this case movie) presents to us. Brecht’s characters and plots are highly schematic and neatly outlined too, like the plot of EL CRIMEN. We’re forced to think more than anything not about the individuals, the manipulated and Machiavellian young Padre Amaro, his girlfriend, the various schematically clear-cut characters, but above all about the hypocrisy of the Mexican government and the Catholic church and the evil system that prevails. A kind of shock value is created when we see Dionisia feed stolen communion wafers to her cat, and when Padre Amaro recites the Song of Songs as he deflowers his pious young girlfriend and dresses her naked body in the robe of the virgin. It’s true there are a few moments of strong sympathy along the way, the most powerful one being when Padre Amaro delivers the excommunication fax to the saintly campesino priest Padre Natalio. Amaro knows Natalio is gold and he is dross, and we weep for him, but when Amaro stands high in the church celebrating with the broken Padre Benito in a wheelchair turning away from him, we too turn away from him with a sense of distaste.Bernal lives up to expectations. Equally strong in their roles are Ana Claudia Talancón as Amelia, Amaro’s victim lover, Sancho Gracia as the older parish priest, Padre Benito, Damian Alcázar as the radiantly committed Padre Natalio, and Luisa Huertas as the crazy and corrupt old fanatic, Dionisia, who leads Amaro to the abortion clinic and along the way provides some shrill comic relief.Sure, this movie is conventional – and even lurid — in many ways, and thereby well designed to draw in the general public in Mexico and everywhere else. IL CRIMEN DEL PADRE AMARO is a vivid depiction of the corruption of the Catholic clergy and the corruptibility, victimization and confusion of the general Mexican populace. It’s enormously controversial and thought provoking coming from a Catholic country, and there’s no wonder it’s been a huge box office hit in Mexico. It has bite and it’s exceptionally well made. It would be foolish not to recognize it as one of the more notable movies of 2002.

  • juan-luis-alfonso-gual-pou
    juan luis alfonso gual pou

    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.

  • johan-werner-pruschke
    johan werner pruschke

    How quickly the events in the news can inure us to the ugly realities of life. In the wake of all those priest sex scandals that have come to light in recent times, `El Crimen Del Padre Amaro’ comes across as more timely, yet less shocking, to us today than it would have had it been released a few years back. This Oscar-nominated film from Mexico, written by Vincent Lenero and directed by Carlos Carrera, features priests who fornicate, priests who launder drug money, priests who arm guerrillas, priests who pay for abortions, priests, in short, who seem to do everything imaginable except what they were originally ordained to do. Not only is the Church hierarchy in this film in bed with drug runners (as well as half the female members of the parish, apparently), but it even dictates to the local newspaper what it will report about the Church and where on the front page such stories will go.It’s safe to say that many devout Catholics will see this film as yet another anti-papist screed designed to further degrade the image of the world’s most powerful religious organization. But the makers of `El Crimen Del Padre Amaro’ seem less concerned with attacking the Church than with examining the human frailties that motivate the characters’ actions. Part of their argument seems to be that the complexities of life and of human nature make it virtually impossible for anyone of flesh and blood to remain saintly for very long. This is particularly true in a setting like rural Mexico where the day-to-day struggle for survival overwhelms all other concerns – spiritual as well as temporal. Father Benito is the leader of the parish who rationalizes his dealings with the local drug dealers by arguing that `bad money becomes good money’ when it is used in the service of the Lord. How else is he going to get the funds necessary to build the new hospital for his people? Father Natalio, an espouser of `liberation theology,’ finds himself at loggerheads with Father Benito, actually arming the very guerillas who fight against those same drug lords. Natalio suffers no qualms about having men killed if that is what is necessary to achieve his goals for his people. Finally, Father Amaro, the focal point of the film, has his own demons to confront. Barely out of seminary, this idealistic young man (played by Gael Garcia Bernal, one of the leads of `Y Tu Mama Tambien’) arrives in town determined to make his mark as a priest who does good for his parishioners. What he doesn’t bank on is the corrosive effect of the corrupt system into which he is sent or his own susceptibility to the weaknesses of the flesh. Being young and handsome, Father Amaro soon finds himself the target of an amorous young woman who confuses pious sentiment with plain and simple erotic desire. What makes Father Amaro interesting is that he is never as righteous as we think he should be in the beginning and never as unredeemably corrupt as we think he should be at the end. In many ways, he is just like anyone else who looks for the easiest way out for himself when the going gets tough. Many viewers may want Amaro to assume the role of conventional hero, stepping in to right the wrongs taking place in this village. Yet, he will not accept that role. What makes the story tragic is not that Amaro is a man of potential greatness brought down by his own weaknesses or the machinations of others, but the fact that he is basically just an ordinary kid trying hard to be `extraordinary’ (choosing the priesthood as his way of achieving it), yet lacking the intestinal fortitude and strength of character men must have if they hope to be great. That Amaro slips so easily into the amoral role set up for him by the likes of Father Benito (even though the old priest seems to find some redemption at the end) is what gives the film its air of frustrating hopelessness. Who, we are led to ask, will finally put an end to this vicious cycle? We know it will not be Amaro.In many ways, the filmmakers may be trying to do too much in this film. Each of the stories involving the three priests could make an interesting movie in its own right. As it is, we sometimes get the sense that the film, in trying to create a full-blown tapestry of Catholicism in Mexico, ends up giving short shrift to some of the more fascinating elements of the story. So much time is spent on the sexual dalliances of Father Amaro and the girl, Amelia, that we don’t really get to see enough of the other forms of controversy and corruption with which the film is dealing. The Liberation Theology movement, in particular, is dealt with in rather too sketchy a fashion, leaving us generally puzzled and unenlightened on that topic.The actors do a superb job bringing their characters to life. In addition to the aforementioned Bernal, Sancho Gracia and Damian Alcazar are excellent as Amaro’s fellow troubled priests and Ana Claudia Talancon is pretty and poised as the young girl drawn by lust, love and passion to this weak-souled priest.Viewers will most likely find `El Crimen Del Padre Amaro’ to be either a brave film or an offensive one, depending on which side of the religious divide they happen to come down on. But after the recent stories in the news, very few of us should really be shocked by what we see here on the screen.

  • susanna-jarvinen-vainio
    susanna jarvinen vainio

    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.

  • bernard-lemaitre
    bernard lemaitre

    This is a very honest film and as i was born in spain i can tell is a hard to watch film for any catholic, because it touches some issues about the hipocrasy involved in the church and some believers in a small town. Very good movie honest, direct and well directed. The Acting and pacing is awesome.

  • angela-maddox
    angela maddox

    This “modern” adaptation from the classic novel written by Portuguese writer Eça de Queiroz in 1875 is very disappointing. The daring and exquisite novel was turned into a Mexican melodrama. Gael García Bernal (“Amores Perros”, “Y Tu Mamá También”, “La Mala Educación”, “The Motorcycle Diaries”) is a talented actor, but even his charisma couldn’t conceal the flaws of the movie.Eça de Queiroz is a very esteemed writer at Brazilian schools, and his importance for Portuguese Literature is incontestable; he deserved more respect. I just can’t understand why this “El Crimen del Padre Amaro” was so praised by most critics. Anyway, it’s sad to see that such a strong book was so poorly adapted. It isn’t horrible, but could have been too much better. 4 out of 10.”One of the most controversial films ever made”? NO WAY!

  • semenica-tabacu
    semenica tabacu

    “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)

  • artem-imastownyan
    artem imastownyan

    Sometimes when you get some money to do some film and you want it back, you obtain some trash. Well, Carrera, the director, thought: I get a screenwriter to adapt a novel (from Queiroz): a scandal movie and what do I get: M0NEY!!!!!!!!!. Ok. But what about the film!! Garbage. Crap. The story is known. Amaro goes to a town. He’s young. The rest of the priests are well corrupted or they hide something big under their heart. Guerrillas, abortion, etc. What is the result? Amaro finds Amelia. They make love. Pregnancy. Terrible sin. Scandal is the same as money sometimes. In this case, it is.

  • kristjan-tratnik
    kristjan tratnik

    In my opinion, the best thing about El Crimen del Padre Amaro is Vicente Leñero’s script – updating a story from 1875 without losing the magic scenes created by Eça 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”.

  • ari-pitkanen
    ari pitkanen

    I feel very upset that in my country, the Catholic church´s authorities make pressure through the goverment that these movie was a bad message for their followers, so the Secretary of Interior decided that the showtime during the day for these movie should be only twice at nightime in each of the four theaters that have it. In my own opinion IT´S A REALITY AMONG US, that Catholic priests are under a terrible decadence that make them to practice these situations that appeared during the movie. In instance of condemn these movie, I invite to any person that want to serve to GOD, to watch these movie, and learn that their spiritual position is a gift from the Lord, and not a disguise to hide their evil nature, that later, make that the faith of many begin to decrease by the thaught that those that make these mistakes, follow the order of a Supreme Being.

  • russell-gomez
    russell gomez

    *****************Spoilers (sort of)*******************I only watched this movie because it was 2 in the morning and i was drinking a glass of water and decided to turn on a movie that was on IFC. I ended up staying up and watching the whole thing. At first the movie was a little slow moving and didn’t really hold all of my attention, but then I really started to become more and more fascinated by the conflicts that were arising in this young priest’s life. When he began the affair with the young girl, did he do it out of spite or out of a true love for this girl? I still don’t know because when i saw the ending i was a little shocked and couldn’t believe the movie was ending with him serving her funeral.Other than that i found the movie to be well made and i loved the lead (the one who played in “y tu mama tambien (another great movie). He conveyed, very well, all of the inner conflicts that his character was going through.Now i was born and raised catholic and i cant say that i have no problem with the church because i do have several problems and i know this movie caused quite a controversy and i can see why. The fact that this movie was bringing all of the corruption of the catholic church to light, may have made certain parties a little “miffed”. But corruption occurs in all religions and just because your catholic doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see this movie because it is a well made movie and one that doesn’t look lightly upon the corruption. This movie shows that corruption in any form has the power to destroy and ultimately will destroy.

  • nenad-vladislavic
    nenad vladislavic

    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.

  • elize-van-salm
    elize van salm

    Possible Spoilers included!The story revolves around a twenty-four year priest, Father Amaro (Gael García Bernal) who fresh out of seminary arrives at the town of Los Reyes, Mexico as the assistant to Father Benito (Sancho Gracia). It seems at first to be a film, like Mass Appeal (1984, based on the Broadway play of the same name), that will explore the relationship between an experienced, jaded priest and an idealistic, naïve one: Amaro discovers that Benito is having an affair with his housekeeper and is laundering money for the local drug lord to build a modern regional hospital. A liberationist priest, Father Natalio Pérez (Damián Alcázar), provides a foil for such established church pragmatism. His devoted work on behalf of the poor (and perhaps in aide of the guerrillas) provokes the ire of the church hierarchy. Amaro admires Pérez for his willingness to choose his ministry over his ecclesial career, even though he won’t make the same sacrifice himself. When Amaro meets the beautiful but not-yet-of-legal-age catechist, Amelia (Ana Claudia Talancón) and they fall into illicit passion, the film then focuses on the sexual sins of the youth and the inevitable tragic consequences. The `Crime of Padre Amaro’ is his willingness to sacrifice Amelia and the baby to his budding church career. From its promising beginnings, the film devolves into a formulaic critique of the church and its hypocrisy. While the subject of its critique caused a storm of controversy in Mexico, I find its obvious and heavy-handed treatment more problematic. Rather than fulfilling its initial premise of exploring the bewildering pressures that face a new priest-celibacy vs. loneliness, pastoral calling vs. compromise with dominant culture, serving the people vs. serving one’s career in the church-the story instead finally relies on its ability to titillate and shock. The film loves to play with traditional religious images, like the statues of Jesus and Mary that are central to Mexican popular Roman Catholicism. Sometimes the visual skewering of traditional religious sensibilities works well in the film, as when children are seen snacking on stolen hosts spread with `cajeta’ (caramelized sugar and milk), or when the local traditional healer in the parish takes a piece of the consecrated host back to her home to heal her ailing cat or later, forces the host down the throat of a girl with severe disabilities thinking it will exorcise the demons. (Interestingly, in the DVD audio commentary on the DVD release, the director notes that there was strong protest voiced against the gentle feeding of the host to the sick cat, but not the beating and forced feeding of the woman.) At other times it just seems clumsy, as when the disabled woman `Gethsemani’ rips up a book of religious pictures while the two lovers breathe heavily in the adjoining room; or when Amaro drapes Amelia in a robe meant for a statue of the Virgin. And must every touch between Amaro and Amelia be followed by a cut to a picture of Jesus praying or looking down on them with disappointment as he bleeds on the cross? At its best, this is a morally complex film with no clear heroes, many victims, and a lot of unlikable characters. For all its focus on the church, it isn’t a particularly theological film. Genuine questions about faith are hidden behind the sensational sins of the clergy. But viewers who are not predisposed (as sometimes the film seems) to loathe the church may find enough here to seriously discuss its many faults, even in the absence of a more balanced view.

  • kathryn-booker
    kathryn booker

    Where to begin?First, can I make the request that these type of movies be made in the US? Movies that are not afraid to “rock the boat” and tell the truth about issues that remain undercover.This movie definitely does that! Not only does it tackle the Catholic Church and its values, but it also asks you, the viewer, to ask questions about your own values.This is an emotionally poignant look at religion, spirituality and it’s place in society. I encourage others to support this film, look inside yourselves to answer the questions it poses.

  • karl-palsson
    karl palsson

    Based on an 1875 Portuguese novel by Eca de Quieros, The Crime of Father Amaro, the new film from director Carlos Carrera, has been updated to modern Mexico. As it opens, Father Amaro (Gael García Bernal) comes to Las Reyes for his first assignment. He starts out as an idealist, showing kindness to a fellow bus passenger whose money is stolen during a holdup, but when he arrives at the parish, he quickly caves in to the established order. 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.

  • dennis-smith-allen
    dennis smith allen

    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.

  • valerii-onufriienko
    valerii onufriienko

    In 2002, in a small town in Mexico, Father Amaro (Gael Garcia Bernal), a young and promising priest, is assigned for that parochial. He is going to substitute Father Benito Diaz (Sancho Gracia), an old and corrupt priest of that community. Father Amaro is the protégé of the Bishop (Ernesto Gómez Cruz). Father Amaro meets Amelita (the gorgeous and sexy actress Ana Claudia Talancón), the very devoted catholic girlfriend of Rubén (Andrés Montiel), an atheist young journalist. Father Amaro also meets other priests of the neighbor towns in their periodical meeting in the church. In an environment of corruption and hypocrisy, Amelita and Father Amaro fall in love to each other. This relationship, full of lust and sin, leads them to a tragic and hypocrite end. Yesterday I watched this movie, which it is in my opinion, one of the best (or maybe the best) I have watched in 2003. I agree that the story is controversial and probably some (or most) of Catholics will not like it. It touches many wounds in this religion. The classic story of Eça de Queiroz, written in 1871, is greatly adapted for the present days. I have never had the chance of visiting Mexico, but in Brazil, in the Twenty-First Century, we have many country towns like the one showed in this wonderful film. The celibate was created in the Middle Ages by the Catholic Church to increase their wealth. How a normal man can keep the celibate is something that has never been clear for me. Lust, desire, is normal in a young man like the character of Father Amaro. In this movie, we have a young priest having a sinful relation with a very sensual girl. An older priest has a hypocrite relationship with an old widow (the mother of Amelita). This movie is indeed a great adaptation of a beautiful romance, with great performances and direction. My vote is ten.Title (Brazil): “O Crime do Padre Amaro” (“The Crime of Father Amaro”)

  • richard-petersen
    richard petersen

    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”

  • david-nguyen
    david nguyen

    “O Crime do Padre Amaro” (the original title of the Portuguese novel) is one of my all-time favorite books, written by Eça de Queirós in 1875, one of the stalwarts of realism in literature, along with Flaubert or Zola. If you read this novel today, besides being marveled by its iconoclast wit, powerful story-telling, sharply drawn multi-layered characters and magnificent style, you will no doubt be startled by Eça’s volcanic attacks on the Catholic clergy’s corrupt morals and behavior in late 1800s Portugal.Well, this Mexican adaptation is a total waste of the novel’s story and shocking power, beginning with the bad idea to transpose it to modern times — how can anyone relate to the impact of Eça’s novel when sex scandals in the Catholic Church have become daily news? Anyhow, this is no excuse for the film’s soap-opera approach, lame adaptation, cardboard characters, unimaginative direction, bland acting (Bernal, Talacón, though they make a beautiful couple) or sheer overacting (most of the cast, excepting the good jobs by Damián Alcázar and Angélica Aragón).A major disappointment from director Carrera, writer Leñeros, and actor García Bernal, who was very interesting in “Amores Perros” and “Y Tu Mamá También” (and since then progressively déjà vu), but is totally lost here, his expression telling us he didn’t get the first idea about Amaro’s cynicism, passion, ambition and growing immorality. Amaro is NOT about standing there wide-eyed and being pretty! If you want to be thrilled and overwhelmed by a real masterpiece, forget about this movie and read the magnificent novel instead. The book – 10/10 the film – 1/10.

  • bhnddaarii-rcnaa
    bhnddaarii rcnaa

    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.

  • cynthia-dennis
    cynthia dennis

    `El Crimen’ was not a bad film, although it was hardly worthy of accolades. While the acting was passable, the story did not move along in a provocative enough manner to thoroughly captivate its audience– in simple terms, the movie was somewhat slow.What is interesting to notice is the reaction that the public– especially the Catholic public– has had to this film. As a Catholic, it saddens me to see the amazing amount of rage focused around the lust of the film’s central character, Padre Amaro. The film, on a superficial level, was rebellion against stale relics of Catholic tradition– such as requisite chastity for clergy and the deification of inanimate objects– that may well spell the end of the faith if they are not shed. It is on these superficial levels that Padre Amaro is decried as a criminal of the faith by the viewing public, but lust is not this priest’s true crime.Central to the film’s controversy is the corruption that propels the church. The truest crime of the film is the web of cover-ups and lies that the church creates in order to propagate its cause. The church is held deep in the pockets of the drug cartel and in order to maintain their stability, the majority of the church leadership, from the bishop down to the sacristans,are quite comfortable with, at worst, lying and falsifying evidence or, at best, looking the other way. The crime of Padre Amaro is not so much that he acted upon his human impulses as that he accepts the corruption of the church by participating in its lies and creating lies of his own.Unfortunately, this film’s only exposé is not the corruption of the church, which has become more and more evident in recent times, but the faithful church body’s willingness to pretend that none of this goes on. One of the most terrifyingly ironic cries of foul against this film, as evidenced in many of these reviews, is, `Priests would never act that way!’ How can one, in today’s climate, make such assertions? While this film should, in an ideal world, be objectionable, the current outcry by supposedly devout Catholics represents a denial of epidemic proportions. If one would set aside one’s group think for two hours while watching this film, one might gain a perspective of the church that our priests do not offer in their Sunday morning Masses. This film may not represent what we would like our church to be, but it does represent what our church is. If we continue to pretend that the current state of affairs of our faith is acceptable, then el crimen de Padre Amaro will also be our crime: complacence.

  • matias-castro
    matias castro

    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.

  • elise-rudolph-mba
    elise rudolph mba

    This is, without a doubt, the most controversial mexican film ever. I don’t know if people from around the world will understand the impact it had here in Mexico, but here are some hints: a) almost everybody in Mexico is catholic, b) Mexican catholics have an enormous respect for priests.So, imagine the chaos when a film is about a priest, Father Amaro (García Bernal), who falls in love with a teenage girl (Talancón) and is under the supervision of the local priest, Father Benito (Gracia), who is involved with one of the most wanted drug dealers in the country. And it gets better. Nevertheless, the film does not criticize the catholic religion; it criticizes people, wether they’re in a robe or not (as always, there’s a lot of jabs to mexican politics too). “El crimen del padre Amaro” is a movie about human flaws and passions. Passion for a woman, passion for justice, passion for success; even passion for a religion.Another plus is the performance of each and everyone of the cast members. Everybody is in character and brings to life a great plot. You can’t help but thinking “Oh my, now how are they going to get out of this one?”.This one is a must-see. Remember: have an open mind, it’s just a (very good) movie.

  • anna-arvidsson
    anna arvidsson

    From a novel by the 19th century Portuguese well-known novelist Eça de Queirós, the Mexican director Carlos Carrera made this good movie in which to the main ingredients present at all times everywhere (lust, the temptations of the flesh haunting Catholic priests, religious hypocrisy, love and bourgeois prejudices) he added specific Mexican ones of our times such as the fight for independent journalism, drug traffic, complicity of authorities and the fight of the peasants for dignity, freedom and a better life. He was very successful in telling the same story contained in the Portuguese novel, transposing it from the atmosphere of a Portuguese provincial town in the second half of 19th century to rural Mexico of present times. The acting of all performers is sober and efficient with special prominence to Ana Claudia in the role of the sensual nymphet who seduces the young priest not with great difficulty it must be said.

  • gunnar-viklund
    gunnar viklund

    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…